The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 2, 2008

Malls of the Seattle Area: A Tour of The Everett Mall

Filed under: Everett, Malls, shopping — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 10:52 pm

 

Update 7/20/08: Thanks to several readers for providing some info on the history of the Macy’s store, which turns out to predate the rest of the mall by nearly a decade.  Until I can find more info and update the post itself, See the comments for this information.

This is this fourth in an ongoing series of posts profiling the various malls in the Seattle area.  The previous posts in the series can be found here:

 I wasn’t planning to get around to profiling the Everett mall on this site until after I completed the malls on the Eastside, but since I happened to be in Everett and had my camera with me, I decided to go over and take some pictures to get started on profiling this mall.  For the time being, I will consider this to be incomplete, since I was interrupted by a (very) minor family emergency while I was at the mall taking the pictures, and was not able to take all the ones I wanted to.  I intend to go back and take some more pictures to add to this later.  In the meantime, I am also working on putting together the second part of my profile of Crossroads in Bellevue, and an update on the Factoria redevelopment. 


Compared to Seattle and the Eastside, the city of Everett has a distinctly blue-collar character to it.  Besides being home to the largest building in the world (the Boeing 747 assembly plant) and the homeport of the USS Abraham Lincoln, Everett also has longstanding ties to the lumber industry, a sprawling Kimberly-Clark (formerly Scott) paper mill on the waterfront, and a deep-water seaport that handled nearly 338,000 tons of cargo in 2007.  So it makes sense that Everett’s shopping mall would also reflect this character.  Although the Everett Mall doesn’t have a lot of the high-end merchants that you would find at some of the more affluent malls in the area, the Everett Mall seems to be doing reasonably well within its particular niche, with a relatively low vacancy rate and a number of smaller niche stores to keep things interesting.  Even so, looking at the place you can’t help but feel that it seems a bit rough around the edges.  After the jump, a look at the Everett Mall.

Facts:

  • Opened: 1979
  • Extensively remodeled and expanded in 2004-2005
  • Total Size: 763,000 Square Feet
  • Owner: Steadfast Companies
  • Website: http://www.shopeverettmall.com
  • Current Anchor stores: 
    • Macy’s (formerly The Bon Marche)
    • Sears
    • Borders Books and Music
    • Old Navy
    • Steve and Barry’s
    • LA Fitness
    • Regal Cinemas Stadium 16
  • Other major stores in the Village area:
    • Best Buy
    • PetSmart
    • TJMaxx
    • Bed Bath and Beyond
  • Major former stores:
    • Fredrick and Nelson (closed in 1992 when the company folded)
    • Mervyn’s (in former Fredrick and Nelson space, closed in 2006)
    • Cinema I-II-III (closed when the new cinema opened)
  • Other features:
    • Food court
    • Play Area
    • Transit Station

 Originally opened in 1979, the Everett Mall follows many of the typical design cues of the other Seventies malls in the area, and has definitely had its share of ups and downs during that time.  In 2000, the mall went into receivership as the owners of the mall defaulted on a $55 million dollar loan.  In 2004, the mall was purchased by Steadfast Companies, which proceeded to give the mall a significant facelift, adding a detached expansion populated with tenants such as Best Buy, PetSmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond, drastically changed the front entrance to the mall and added a couple of smaller anchor tenants (Borders and Old Navy) to the mix as well as a new 16-screen movie theater to   In addition to this, a number of mostly superficial touchups throughout the mall helped to somewhat alleviate its dated appearance. 

(click for an interactive map.  Note that the birds-eye view photos were taken during the remodel, and construction of the movie theater and the Village stores had just begun at the time.)

The mall is located in the southern part of Everett along the I-5 corridor, in a primarily commercial district of town, although there is some apartment housing on the South side of the mall.  This mall’s primary competition comes from the Alderwood Mall, roughly six miles to the south of here along I-5, although it has few competitors to the North.  Aside from a much smaller mall in Marysville with a small JCPenney and one of the few remaining Gottschalks stores in the area, and the Seattle Premium Outlet on the Tulalip reservation next to their casino resort, there are few competitors to the North of here.  In fact, the closest true shopping mall to the North of here is the Bellis Fair, all the way up in Bellingham. 

When Mervyn’s closed their store at the Everett Mall (along with every other store in Washington) in 2006, the 2-story anchor space that the store previously occupied was subdivided, with LA Fitness (a health club) taking most of the lower floor (with no entrance from the inside of the mall,) and Steve and Barry’s taking over the remainder of the first floor and the entire second floor (although there are some indications that they may be headed down the tubes themselves, which would make them the third tenant to occupy and then vacate this anchor space.)  In this picture, you can also see the mall’s new 16-screen cinema that opened in 2006, replacing the mall’s old 3-screen theater and an 8-screen multiplex a couple of blocks away from the mall.

Next to those stores is the Sears store, which received a bit of a facelift (on the exterior anyway) when the remodel took place.

The look of the Macy’s store, on the other hand, does not appear have changed any with the mall’s facelift, and the building still looks like it came straight out of the Seventies.  Prior to the remodel, there was a hallway that  led from the food court area toward the Macy’s store, then turned and connected with the other hallway at the Macy’s entrance.  Many of the spaces in that section of the mall were either vacant or contained short-term tenants, so the decision was made to consolidate the space into a single larger store.

This became the Old Navy store, shown here.  When the remodel took place, there were small portions of what used to be hallway space inside the mall that were removed to make exterior-facing storefronts for the Old Navy and the Borders.  The entrance to this store is just inside the mall entrance, to the right of where this photo was taken.

On the opposite side is the Borders bookstore.  Prior to the remodel, much of the space that the Borders occupies was taken up by Mr. Bill’s Restaurant.  I never ate there, but I seem to recall that the place had some sort of retro diner theme to it.

This is the original main entrance to the mall, which faces Everett Mall Way.  Prior to the remodel, the color scheme of this entrance was primarily green if I recall correctly.

This is one of two new entrances that were constructed as part of the remodel.  The other one is basically identical to this one.

 

On the west side of the mall property, we find the newly constructed Village portion of the mall.  Nothing too fancy here, basically just some big empty boxes to put retail in.  Best Buy, PetSmart, TJMaxx and Bed, Bath and Beyond are the major stores here, and Sleep Country USA, Hobby Town USA and Quiznos occupy smaller spaces.

On the side of the mall facing I-5, there isn’t much to see.  This sign is visible from the freeway, and the other side of the sign has a matrix display on it which does not currently seem to be functioning.  There is a slope between the mall and the freeway, so the mall itself is not visible to people in cars on I-5.

The only thing that really caught my attention back here was this surprisingly obvious labelscar from the mall’s old 3-screen cinema, which currently sits vacant, and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future.  I’m guessing it’s been quite a while since the last time anyone did any painting back here.

Moving to the inside of the mall, the food court is the first thing you see when you enter the mall from the front.  It’s a relatively small food court, with only about 10 choices (give or take a couple, as there has been some turnover here recently) and a moderately sized seating area.  I need to get some more pictures of this at some point, but it’s pretty much a typical small mall food court.

Outside of the major changes to the front of the mall as outlined above, the rest of the changes to the mall are primarily superficial ones. There are a number of these seating areas that have been placed throughout the mall to provide a more contemporary look than the standard issue late 70s mall furnishings they replaced.

Aside from these small islands of updated design, much of the original floor tile used in the mail remains mostly undisturbed, with one exception:

For some reason, throughout the mall they’ve adde these marble accent tiles.  This effect would probably work better if they were the same size, but in more ways than one, these just don’t seem to fit.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this, this profile is currently incomplete, since I was interrupted before I was able to take all of the photos that I wanted to.  At some point I plan to go back and finish this off when I get another chance to visit here and take the rest of the photos.  In the meantime, if anyone has any info on the history of this mall, and some of the troubles it has gone through, I would be interested to get the information.

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11 Comments »

  1. Hello! Whoever you are…I’ve been to this mall (during my mini vacation to Seattle back in May 2008)…I want to converse with you if possible about this mall. My cell is (ADMIN EDIT: Phone number removed) and I have AT&T…please contact me by Email ASAP if you cannot call me. Thank you!

    Comment by Nathan Bush — July 5, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  2. I grew up in this mall! sorta.. I remember there being a Pay ‘n save then a Payless where the cinema used to be. I ate at Mr. Bill’s all the time with my family untill they closed. The original Mr. Bill’s on Aurora Ave. closed recently. Here’s some short notes from me.
    -B. Dalton was located next to food court untill the remodel.
    -The Macy’s spot opened in 1971 as the White Front Store, a mega Discount Chain. It closed in the 1980’s. The Bon Marche moved in to the space in 1994 from Downtown.
    -The first store on the mall site was Sears, which opened in 1969.
    -Frederick & Nelson opened in 1980

    Comment by Colin H. — July 11, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  3. Macy’s exterior is left over from White Front… that was their “new look” after they ditched the enormous archways that used to surround their entrances. I assume that the Everett Mall sign was originally a White Front sign as well… they were known for having massive pole signs with that rectangular shape (at a height far exceeding what’s allowed by modern zoning laws) that could be seen for miles. Michaels Plaza at S. 38th & Pine in Tacoma also has traces of its White Front origins as well, most notably the stucco exterior and HUGE sign tower. (The Tacoma store originally had an archway, however.)

    White Front was gone by 1973 or so… the Everett Mall Bon took its place in 1977.

    Those faux marble accent tiles are hideous. I’m sure the surrounding flooring isn’t original however… that sort of tile didn’t become common until the ’80s. The first flooring was probably terrazzo or brown-colored tiles.

    Comment by T.K. — July 20, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  4. T.K:

    Thanks for pointing this out. The Macy’s store’s former existence as a White Front was actually mentioned by several other people here and offline, although I haven’t had a chance to put together the whole story on it yet. I had actually made a mental note of the resemblance between this Macy’s and the Overlake Fred Meyer (which, as it turns out, is another former White Front store, and even still has the White Front’s keymaking booth in front,) but didn’t have a clue that there was a shared heritage between the two stores. Once I get a chance to head back to the newspaper archives, I intend to put together a post on the history of the Fred Meyer in Bellevue.

    As for White Front, the info I have indicates that they were a California-based chain (the name “White Front” came from the fact that a significant part of their business was in home appliances, which were placed in the front of the store, creating a “white front” of sorts,) and they opened a number of stores in the Seattle area in 1969. All of these stores were closed by 1972. A couple of these became Valu-Mart stores (which first got renamed to Leslie’s, then were bought and converted to Fred Meyers in 1975, and remain so to this day) but from the info I have, the Everett store sat vacant for several years before the Everett Mall got built around it and it got turned into the Bon Marche/Macy’s store that there now. As for White Front, they disappeared completely around 1975 when their parent company decided to consolidate their operations into the one division of the company that was profitable: A chain of toy stores known as Toys ‘R Us that you might have heard of somewhere along the line.

    Again, I need to go do some digging and try to find out more about the White Fronts in the Seattle area, but I will update this as soon as I have some more info. In the meantime, you can see some old photos of White Front stores over at the Pleasant Family Shopping Blog:

    http://pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot.com/2007/09/under-familiar-arch_8544.html

    Thanks again,
    -Brian

    Comment by Brian Lutz — July 20, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

    • Found out that the white White Front in Bellevue was replaced by Leslies Value Mart, a department store, in 1974. At the same time they also occupied the former White Front in Tacoma. Leslies’ other locations were what is now the Greenwood, Shoreline, Burien and South Everett Fred Meyers (same buildings). The one in Midway (SeaTac), a smaller, tackier store, was replaced by a new Fred Meyer two years ago.

      Comment by Colin — January 8, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

      • The information I have on this seems to indicate that Leslie’s was a name change from Valu-Mart in 1974, and that the Valu-Mart stores in the former White Fronts were opened in 1972. The name change backfired on them, and combined with the poor economy, this led to them being acquired by Fred Meyer. Valu-Mart actually had a smaller store near the Overlake location before they took it over (I believe this would have been in the Evergreen Village shopping center at the corner of 140th and Bel-Red Road where Safeway, Staples and Puetz Golf are located now.)

        Comment by Brian Lutz — January 8, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

      • I can trace Value-Mart itself back to 1961 when what is now Fred Meyer in Shoreline was built. A store was opened in South Everett also in the 60’s. The Fred Meyer in South Everett was built in 1975 so I’m not sure where it was located. It could have been replaced by Freddy’s.

        And as you know, the first Fred Meyer in the state was in Lynnwood, opened in 1969 before they bought Value Mart and Marketime.

        Comment by Colin — January 10, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  5. […] of troubles over the past few years, the Everett Mall is far from dead, as you can see from the profile that I put together recently.  The remodeling that took place a couple of years ago brought in a […]

    Pingback by In Defense of the Traditional Shopping Mall - Part 1: The Reports of the Mall’s Death are Greaty Exaggerated « The Sledgehammer - Version 2.0 — August 8, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  6. Oh the memories I have of this mall. I grew up in Mukilteo and we would head to Everett Mall for “fun”. Sleeping out on the backside of the mall for New Kids on the Block tickets….holy cow!

    Comment by Jessica — November 13, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  7. There is also the Cascade Mall in Burlington, which is much closer than Bellingham. It isn’t as big as the Everett Mall, but it is much bigger than the Marysville Mall and should at least be mentioned in your opening section.

    Comment by Whittaker Harpel — February 1, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  8. In the early days of the Everett Mall (circa 1983), there was one central corridor that ran from Sears to F&N, bending in the middle where it intersected the corridor from the entrance to the Bon. Later, a second parallel corridor of stores was added in front.

    One of the architectural highlights of the early days was a large fountain and pool at the crossing, with the pool built about three feet high and covered (if I recall correctly) with ’70s-style burnt-orange tile, with a “puffball” fountain at the center. I always liked it, but it could occasionally spray water on those who got too close, and had a definite smell of chlorine. The whole thing was removed during a remodel in the late ’80s, and definitely removed a lot of the character of the place.

    At one point in the mid ’80s, the mall — but not the stores — used to open early in the morning for senior citizens (and others, I guess) to exercise by walking around the corridors, which was probably a good idea on rainy winter days. To mark out the path (which should have been pretty obvious anyway), a series of small white tiles with red hearts on them were inlaid about every ten feet along the path. They, too, disappeared in the remodel, replaced by the large and mediocre tiling on which you comment.

    In the days before Barnes & Noble and Borders, Everett was notable for having both a B. Dalton and a Waldenbooks. Some of even the larger malls in the area had only one or the other, not both. Later, there was even a Waldensoftware store across the corridor from their book store — it was a favorite for computer-geek teen gamers around the time of the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST.

    My strongest memory of the mall was sneaking out late one foggy December Saturday (the mall used to stay open until midnight Saturdays in Christmas shopping season) to buy an engagement ring for my girlfriend at the Bon.

    Comment by James David Walley — December 13, 2009 @ 12:46 am


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