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Monday, June 26, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Nordstrom Signs To Build New Flagship Store -- Construction May Start By January On Downtown Project

Nordstrom Inc. has signed a deal that brings construction of a $100 million flagship store in downtown Seattle a step closer to a January start date. The store and corporate headquarters is the centerpiece of a $400 million redevelopment project aimed at revitalizing the city's retail core.

Nordstrom signed a letter of intent Friday with Pine Street Associates, the developer of the vacant Frederick & Nelson store at Pine Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, to go ahead with the project, pending final arrangements for financing and city permits.

The signing solidifies a deal that has been in the talking stages for more than two years.

The new store is scheduled to open in November 1997. It will be designed by Callison Architecture, Inc. of Seattle.

Pine Street, now closed to traffic between Fourth and Fifth avenues, would open by the first half of next year. Nordstrom insisted on opening Pine Street as part of the deal. Seattle voters approved the measure last March.

Matt Griffin, co-manager of Pine Street Associates, said the group is confident it will secure financing by this fall. He said the letter of intent was a "critically important piece of our development puzzle."

Brooke White, Nordstrom spokeswoman, said her company "is happy to have this step completed."

She said it is too early to say how many floors of the 10-story building will be devoted to retail space.

At Nordstrom's annual meeting last month, former co-chairman Jim Nordstrom said the store would be at least 300,000 square feet - larger than its present 268,000-square-foot site at Fifth and Pine.

The store will be part of of a three-block, $400 million development that will also include a city-financed garage and five-story retail and entertainment center. The project also includes Nordstrom's present store and adjacent Seaboard Building, which Pine Street Associates plans to renovate for new retail and office space to open at the end of 1998.

Griffin said Pine Street Associates is working on leases for both the garage site and the Nordstrom space. The only tenant signed so far is General Cinema Corp., which plans a 16-screen theater atop the five-story garage.

Other major tenants said to be interested include Crate & Barrel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's, J. Crew, Smith & Hawken and the Hard Rock Cafe.

The City Council today was to approve as much as $66 million in bonds to help pay for the 1,200-space garage. The money will be repaid by revenues from parking fees. Work on the garage is to begin in April.

The redevelopment project has already been approved for $24 million in federal funds that will go toward purchase of the F&N property from the Padelford family, descendants of D.E. Frederick, one of the founders of the Frederick & Nelson chain.

Pine Street Associates plans to buy the building, then lease it to Nordstrom. The asking price was $26 million, but the final purchase price has not been disclosed.

The building has been vacant since June 1991 when F&N went out of business.

Plans for the new Nordstrom development have spawned new interest in other parts of downtown. Construction is expected to start later this year on a new NikeTown and Planet Hollywood development between Sixth and Seventh avenues and Pike and Pine behind the vacant I. Magnin store.

Pine Street Associates is a partnership of more than a dozen local investors. The group is managed by Griffin, Jeffrey Rhodes, Kenneth Himmel and Thomas Klutznick.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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