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Thursday, May 2, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Nordstrom Project Gets OK To Begin -- F&N Building Renovation To Start May 15; Part Of Three-Block Plan

Seattle Times Business Reporter

Construction will start in the next two weeks on one of the largest redevelopment projects in downtown Seattle's history as Nordstrom begins work on a $100 million renovation of the former Frederick & Nelson building into a flagship store and corporate headquarters.

After more than two years of negotiations, the retailer yesterday acquired the property at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street.

Financing also has been secured for redevelopment of the former Systems garage block across Sixth Avenue from the vacant Frederick & Nelson store, and for eventual redevelopment of the block across Pine Street now occupied by Nordstrom.

The new 320,000-square-foot Nordstrom store on six levels will open in March 1998.

It will be part of a $400 million, three-block project to be developed by Pine Street Associates of Seattle, which has acquired the present Nordstrom location at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street for a new retail development.

The project is being financed partly by private investors along with government, pension-fund and bank loans.

At a press conference today, Seattle Mayor Norm Rice said the entire project would create 1,400 permanent jobs when complete, and add $3 million a year in new tax revenue. Construction on the Nordstrom store is set to begin May 15.

"The project already has caused a ripple effect, prompting additional redevelopment such as NikeTown and Banana Republic, and will continue to be a magnet for downtown," Rice said.

In the two years since the project was announced, 47 new retail, office, hotel and housing projects worth more than $1 billion have been scheduled for development in the downtown area, Rice said.

The new Nordstrom store will be the chain's second-largest, behind its store in San Francisco. New additions will include a pub,

an espresso/juice bar and a spa.

Callison Architecture Inc., of Seattle, designed the new store to include a four-story escalator atrium leading from the street floor. The building's terra-cotta exterior will be cleaned and restored to resemble its original appearance.

Nordstrom's corporate and regional offices will occupy upper floors of the building.

Brooke White, Nordstrom spokeswoman, said interior demolition and structural improvements will take several months under direction of Bayley Construction, general contractor.

A fourth-floor Nordstrom cafe will open onto a skybridge across Sixth Avenue connecting to a companion development in a renovated garage block, called Pacific Place. The 325,000-square-foot, five-floor structure will include theaters, restaurants, retail stores and underground parking for 1,200 cars.

Pacific Place construction will begin in August. The garage will open in November 1997 with other parts of the development slated for an April 1998 opening. General Cinema Theatres will open an 11-screen movie-theater complex there. Other tenants will include San Francisco's Il Fornaio, an Italian restaurant and bakery; the Pottery Barn; Williams-Sonoma; Starbucks; and Helly-Hansen, the Redmond manufacturer of outdoor clothing, which will open its first retail store. There will also be a food marketplace and exhibition kitchens. Barnes & Noble bookstore had been announced as a potential tenant with a 28,000-square-foot store but has since withdrawn.

Pacific Place is being designed by NBBJ of Seattle and Elkus/Manfredi Architects Ltd., Boston. Plans call for an interior atrium with sidewalk paving to give a sense of an outdoor street and differing storefronts on the exterior, rather than a slick mall-type structure. The contractors are Lease Crutcher Lewis and Sellen Construction of Seattle.

Once Nordstrom moves, Pine Street Associates will redevelop the existing Nordstrom store and the adjoining Seaboard Building for new retail stores and offices. Work is slated to begin in the spring of 1998 and take about a year, said Matt Griffin, co-manager of Pine Street Associates.

Completion of financing yesterday - Griffin said he signed multiple copies of 130 different documents - allowed Nordstrom to purchase the F&N Building, which dates to 1918 and has been vacant since June 1992, following the retailer's bankruptcy filing.

It was sold by the Padelford family, heirs of co-founder D.E. Frederick, through Pine Street Associates, to Nordstrom for $26.72 million. Nordstrom transferred rights to its present site to Pine Street Associates.

To get the project together, local investors put up $10 million in venture capital. They include a number of well-known Seattleites including John McCaw, of McCaw Communications; arts patron Bagley Wright; developer Howard S. Wright; Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks; developer Herman Sarkowsky and architect William Bain.

Pine Street Associates, a partnership made up of Griffin, Jeffrey Rhodes, Kenneth Himmel and Thomas Klutznick, obtained equity financing through Kennedy Associates Real Estate Counsel Inc., an investment adviser to a large pension fund, the Multi-Employer Property Trust. Seafirst Bank agreed to back a $24 million loan from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, used to help buy the F&N property. The loan will be repaid by Pine Street Associates over 20 years. The city is financing the Pacific Place garage with $73 million in revenue bonds that will be repaid from income. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Timeline for the multiblock project

May 15: Nordstrom to begin renovation of former Frederick & Nelson building. August 1996: Pine Street Associates to begin work on Pacific Place. Late summer 1996: Pine Street to reopen to traffic between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Fall 1997: 1,200-car public garage to open beneath Pacific Place. March 1998: New Nordstrom store to open. April 1998: Pacific Place to open. April 1998: Renovation of old Nordstrom store to begin. Spring 1999: Renovated Seaboard Center retail-office complex to open.

Published Correction Date: 05/04/96 - Construction On The City's Street And Sidewalk Improvement Project For Pine Street Is Slated To Be Finished By Thanksgiving, But The Street Will Not Be Reopened To Traffic Between Fourth And Fifth Avenues Until After New Year's Day. City Officials Said Pine Will Remain Closed Through December To Accommodate Holiday Activities. This Story Incorrectly Reported When The Street Would Reopen.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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