1 May 2013

Extant Assets - Alderwood Mall, Lynnwood, WA

It was the winter of 2000 as I sat in a window seat toward the back of a Northwest 757, enjoying my complimentary breakfast biscuit, while a buddy from work and I sped at FL350 westward toward my first visit to Seattle. I looked out of the window as we chased the sun over the Rocky Mountains and toward the Pacific Northwest. "You're going to love Seattle," my friend told me. "You're never going to want to leave." The clouds became thicker as we started crossing over the Cascades before Mount Rainier revealed itself to us just to the south. Then, as we descended into the Puget Sound area, the clouds started breaking up, giving me my first ever intermittent glimpses of the greens and the blues that would later be my home. I'll never forget the sage words of my friend. Even though it was over another decade before I moved to the Seattle area, from the moment I stepped out into a rare, mostly sunny January day in Seatac, I never wanted to leave.

 
Alderwood Mall Mallmanac ca. 2000. View the full PDF version here.

I'll never forget the drive from the airport to my sister's home in Everett. One of the first things I noticed and loved were the towering evergreens everywhere. Then, there were the majestic, snow capped Cascades punctuating the city. Then, as we turned north onto I-5, there was something else. A Nordstrom. It was the Nordstrom of Southcenter in Tukwila to be exact. Before we arrived at my sister's clone-y subdivision, we passed three other malls. For some reason, though, Alderwood really stuck in my mind.

 
Lamont's leaving Alderwood (left) was the impetus for the many changes to happen (right) in the first half of the 2000s.

Maybe it was the twin glass towers over the main entrance. Maybe it was the flat, lifeless seventies modern architecture and mud brown brickwork that I had learned to love. Whatever it was, I never forgot it. And now, it is the primary shopping destination in my new home. I really love their Nordstrom and, although I'm no big fan of Macy's, Alderwood's location is exceptional.

 
 
Scenes of one of the two outdoor elements of Alderwood, The Terraces. This one, located on the front of the mall, features several restaurants, greenspace and a Loews cineplex.

An expansion sometime before 2000 added the food court, with its distinctive glass towers, to the front of the mall. Then, in 2000, an opportunity arose when Seattle's own Lamont's department store closed their Alderwood location. The old Lamont's was demolished then replaced by a new building for Nordstrom. The original Nordstrom, located right next to Lamont's, was then demolished and replaced with The Village, an attached outdoor promenade of shops such as REI and Borders.

 
Alderwood Mall Mallmanac ca. 2013. View the full PDF version here.

At the same time, additional outdoor shops and restaurants were added to the front of the mall just outside of the food court. This area, named The Terraces, features a Loew's Cineplex and restaurants such as Anthony's and one of the Seattle area's million or so Starbuck's in addition to ambient greenspace. This double expansion also included two parking decks, each located on opposite sides of JCPenney.

 
Indoor shots of the mall, including The Terraces Food Court (left) and Macy's at center court (right.)

One of my favorite stores in the mall is Daiso, a Japanese "dollar" store (although most items are priced at a buck fifty.) The aisles are narrow, the layout unruly and the offerings diverse, but I have always loved stores like this. I spent a lot of pesos at the Philippine equivalent of Daiso, Japanese Home Store. A quick run through the store is always a good way to find everyday neccesities that I didn't even realize I needed. (A hanging laundry bin for a sleeping cube? I need one!) I was recently surprised to find that this location was Daiso's first in the US.

 
 
Three shots of The Village, along with another example of a modern and flashy JCPenney.

Today, the mall is simply called Alderwood and serves as the main shopping destination for Snohomish County's 750,000 residents. And, when I tire of the snowy trails of the Cascades or the urban scene on Capitol Hill, one is fairly likely to find me within its concourses.

 
L- Alderwood as of this writing. R- Alderwood from above. (Source)

Alderwood's official website

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