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Tuesday, January 7, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Nordstrom Delays Opening Flagship Until August '98

Seattle Times Business Reporter

Nordstrom will delay opening its new downtown flagship store by six months to August 1998, rather than March, as earlier planned.

While renovation of the former Frederick & Nelson store at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street is proceeding on schedule, opening of a 1,200-space garage across Sixth Avenue in the Pacific Place development has been delayed.

"We always planned to open after the garage was completed," said Brooke White, Nordstrom spokeswoman. "Once it was clear its opening was postponed, we decided it is in our best interest to do the same."

Pacific Place, a $175 million entertainment complex with the garage, will be linked to the new Nordstrom store by a skybridge over Sixth Avenue. Matt Griffin, co-manager of Pine Street Associates, developer of Pacific Place, said preliminary work on that project - financing, tenant leasing and design - has taken longer than anticipated. He had hoped to begin work last August.

Last week, his group closed on the $17 million purchase of the site from two local investment groups, but Griffin said they still are negotiating construction financing. The 325,000-square-foot project is about one-third leased.

Both projects are part of a $400 million redevelopment of the downtown retail core. A third phase, renovation of the present Nordstrom store, diagonally across Pine Street and Fifth Avenue from F&N, will begin after Nordstrom moves next year.

White said Nordstrom likes to open new stores at the beginning of a major fashion season, and if March didn't work, then August would be the next proper time.

"The extra time allows us more depth and more time to prepare for the opening," she said. She said the renovation project is far more complex than building a new store.

Structural demolition by Bayley Construction is continuing in the 10-story former F&N building. White said seismic bracing, steel reconstruction and cutting for new elevators and escalators and the atrium planned for the interior is progressing inside the building.

The decision to delay the opening came as the city reopened Pine Street to traffic at the request of Nordstrom, which made the reopening a condition of going ahead with the $100 million renovation of the former F&N building. Voters approved the opening last year.

The street had been closed between Fourth and Fifth avenues since 1990, allowing pedestrians to stroll between Westlake Park and Westlake Center but forcing drivers to detour around the closed area.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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