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The glass façade of the atrium entrance towers 90 feet (27 m) above the ground.
|Location||Tukwila, Washington, USA|
|Opening date||July 31, 1968|
|No. of stores and services||218|
|No. of anchor tenants||4|
|Total retail floor area||1,700,000 sq ft (160,000 m2)|
|No. of floors||1-3|
Westfield Southcenter, formerly known as Southcenter Mall, is a shopping mall located in Tukwila, Washington, USA. It is currently anchored by JC Penney, Macy's, Nordstrom, and Sears and owned by the Westfield Group. A Rainforest Cafe is also at the mall. It is the largest shopping center in Washington and the Pacific Northwest.
Early history and construction: 1956 - 1968
In early 1956, three officials from Northgate Shopping Center, James Douglas, president of Northgate Co., Wells McCurdy, Douglas' assistant, and Rex Allison, the vice president of Allied Department Stores formed the Southcenter Corporation as a subsidiary of Allied. Their goal was to eventually build a large shopping center south of downtown Seattle that would match the success of their own Northgate and began searching for a site, preferably with at least 100 acres. The site chosen was part of what was known as the Andover Tract, an 800-acre (3.2 km2) area of former pasture land being developed by the Port of Seattle for industrial use. In anticipation of the developments, the entire area (947 acres) was annexed by the city of Tukwila in November 1957. Southcenter Corp. purchased 160 acres (0.65 km2) strategically at what would eventually be the intersection of two major freeways, The Seattle - Tacoma Freeway (I-5) and I-405. The construction schedule of the mall would depend on the construction of the freeways.
Construction at the site began in early 1967 and work on the $30 million shopping center began in the summer of 1967. John Graham & Company, a Seattle firm that also designed the original Northgate and Tacoma Malls, was announced as the architect for the project. Even with four labor strikes slowing work down, construction was largely completed on the structure by May 1968. Work on the interior continued until the day before opening on July 31. In total, 25 main contractors and 50 subcontractors helped build the mall. The concrete terrazzo floors of the mall were said to be the largest in area (85,000 square feet) in all of Puget Sound and were a last minute addition to the mall. Needed to make the cement like mixture for the floors were 500 cubic yards of sand, 3,000 100-pound sacks of gray cement, 3,000 100-pound sacks of white cement and 5,000 100-pound sacks of brown marble chips. 30,000 feet (9,100 m) of zinc divider strips were used for the floors.
Opening day and beyond: 1968 - 2002
The grand opening was held on July 31, 1968 at 11 A.M. with Washington State Governor Dan Evans as the key speaker. At 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2) with 92 stores employing 3,600 people, it was the largest shopping mall in the region. Southcenter Mall was anchored by Allied's The Bon Marché, Frederick & Nelson, JCPenney and Nordstrom Best. Other major tenants included Klopfenstein's. The original marketing campaign in the late '60s and early '70s featured a very young, relatively unknown KIRO-TV "assistant" anchor, Sandy Hill (who later co-hosted Good Morning America). In fact, KIRO partnered with Southcenter in the '70s, occasionally broadcasting the noon news from a set near the Bon Marché. The advertising jingle focused on "one hundred stores and all that room...Southcenter...it's always a beautiful day!". It attempted to lure people in out of the proverbial continual rain in the Seattle area. In 1985, the mall was acquired by Jacobs, Visconsi and Jacobs Co. of Cleveland, Ohio.
Over the years, the anchor stores changed. Nordstrom truncated its name in 1973, and a Mervyn's store was added as a fifth anchor in 1992. Frederick & Nelson went bankrupt and sold its store to Sears in 1992.
Acquisition by Westfield: 2002 - 2006
In early 2002, the mall was purchased by the Westfield Group. At that time it was renamed "Westfield Shoppingtown Southcenter". In June 2005, "Shoppingtown" was dropped from the name. Westfield acquired full ownership of the property when it acquired the underlying leasehold in 2006.
The Bon Marché was renamed Bon-Macy's in 2003 and eventually Macy's in 2005, as part of a rebranding effort by its owner, Federated Department Stores. At the end of 2006, Mervyn's closed all of its stores in Washington and Oregon, including its Southcenter store.
South expansion: 2006 - 2008
On May 11, 2006, Westfield broke ground on a $240 million expansion that was to add 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) and two parking garages. The first garage (named Olympic Garage, after the Olympic Mountains) was opened on November 22, 2006, in time for the Black Friday shopping rush. In January, 2007, the food court tenants began to move out in preparation for the demolition of the existing food court area. The old food court finally closed on January 28, 2007, and was demolished in the following months.
On June 15, 2007, the second parking garage, (named Cascade Garage, after the Cascade Mountains) was opened. Construction continued for the next 13 months, completing in July 2008. The redevelopment added approximately 75 specialty stores, a new atrium and dining terrace with views of Mount Rainier, five new sit-down restaurants, and an AMC Theatres multiplex on top of the center. The AMC Theatres opened on July 18, showing The Dark Knight, as well as Space Chimps and Mamma Mia!. A week later, on July 25, the remainder of the expansion opened, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring a speech by Governor Christine Gregoire.
November 2008 shooting
On November 22, 2008, one person was killed and one person was injured during an apparent gang-related shooting inside the mall's first floor. The shooting occurred after two groups of people got into a fist fight. In the hours after the shooting, the mall was locked down while police searched for the suspect, but the 21-year-old suspect, Barry L. Saunders Jr. was not found. On November 26, Saunders was arrested in Portland, Oregon. Saunders initially claimed that he was acting in self-defense, attempting to help his brother during the fight. On December 14, 2010, the Seattle Times reported that he pled guilty to charges of second-degree murder and second-degree assault. He was sentenced on February 4, 2011 to 17 years in prison.
In summer of 2010, Seafood City Marketplace opened in the former Mervyns space. The specialty grocery store features a fresh seafood and meat section, bakery, and a large selection of Asian and Filipino influenced items. The store is the chain's first store in the Northwest. Also added were Asian and Filipino-themed quick-service restaurants, such as Jollibee and Chowking.
- JCPenney 240,597 sq ft (22,352.2 m2).
- Macy's 250,407 sq ft (23,263.6 m2).
- Nordstrom 165,900 sq ft (15,410 m2).
- Sears 170,800 sq ft (15,870 m2).
- Southcenter mall expands, regroups with new retailers
- "South-of-City Shopping Area Planned" Seattle Times 4 Dec. 1957. P.1
- "City Light Asks Service Franchise in Tukwila Area" Seattle Times 15 Oct. 1958. P.40
- "South End Plans Point to Controversy" Seattle Times 11 Dec. 1957. P.34
- "Workers Rush to Ready Giant Southcenter for Grand Opening" Seattle Times 21 Jul. 1968. P.4 C
- "Terrazzo Floor Job is Largest in Area" Seattle Times 21 Apr. 1968. P.C1
- Westfield Southcenter
- Westfield Southcenter News and Events
- 1 dead, 1 wounded in mall shooting near Seattle
- Southcenter Mall Shooting Suspect Arrested, Booked
- Suspect in mall shooting pleads not guilty
- Guilty plea in fatal shooting at Southcenter mall
- 17-year sentence for fatal shooting at Southcenter mall
- Westfield Southcenter Official Site
- Mall is the area's main attraction
- New Official Westfield Southcenter Site describing mall expansion