Downtown Seattle’s historic Macy’s building sells for $580 million

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Retail giant Macy's announced last week that it would close its downtown Seattle store in early 2020.  Photographed on September 30, 2019.

Downtown Seattle’s landmark Macy’s building got new owners this week in what some executives are calling a small sign of recovery for the city’s retail core.

Seattle-based commercial real estate company Urban Renaissance Group and global investment firm KKR announced Thursday that they had acquired the 300 Pine St. building that used to be Macy’s department store for around $ 580 million.

The groups plan to renovate the 85,000-square-foot first floor, mezzanine, and second floor to accommodate new retail stores. The owners will also create a new entrance on Fourth Avenue to give access to the 682,000 square feet of commercial office space above. Amazon has rented the building since 2017.

Macy’s officially closed in February 2020 after nearly 90 years at the Third Avenue and Pine Street location. The beleaguered department store company announced in early 2019 that it would close its Northgate and Redmond locations.

The 864,000-square-foot building has been an icon of downtown Seattle’s retail core since it opened in 1929 as The Bon Marché’s flagship store. Due to the high volume of mail, it even has its own postcode 98181.

Federated Department Stores, Inc. acquired The Bon Marché, which also owned Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, in 1992. In 2003, The Bon Marché was renamed Bon-Macy’s. A little over a year later, the receipt was dropped and the place simply became Macy’s.

The new retail space on the ground floor will be called The Bon Marche Collective to honor the history of the building.

Retail giant Macy’s announced last week that it would close its downtown Seattle store in early 2020. Photographed on September 30, 2019.Genna Martin / seattlepi.com

The new owners were positive about the future of downtown Seattle and saw continued growth in the area despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an attractive market that is geared towards long-term growth, driven by a strong and growing workforce, an attractive cost of living, and simply an extremely desirable place with a high quality of life,” said Justin Pattner, head of Real at KKR Real Estate in America in a press release . “300 Pine is an important part of the Seattle community and we look forward to realizing its full potential.”

City guides agreed with the feeling that the once buoyant downtown economy would recover.

“Remodeling this building and adding street-level energy is an investment that will have catastrophic implications for downtown recovery,” said Jon Scholes, president and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association.