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July 19, 2019

Northgate Ice Centre ready with final design, as mall demo nears

Real Estate Editor

Rendering by Generator Studio [enlarge]
A community ice rink and team merchandise shop would face a park south of the training center.

The massive planned redevelopment of Northgate has another design review on Monday. Focus will be on the central NHL practice facility, aka Northgate Ice Centre, with three rinks — mostly open to the public — and administrative offices. The 8 p.m. meeting is at Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. Generator Studio of Kansas City, Missouri, is the architect for this component of the mall redevelopment for owner Simon Property Group.

GGLO is the master planner for the overall phased 55-acre plan, which will initially add 12 buildings including two hotels, offices, retail, restaurants and apartments. Everything is pegged to the opening of Northgate Station in 2021. The south two-thirds, or about 33 acres, are in Phase I.

Permits for Phase I demolition and construction were recently issued. Absher Construction Co. is listed as the general contractor, but Simon didn't respond to DJC queries to verify.

CallisonRTKL — which will later design the office and retail buildings — is listed as the architect on the demolition plan. Also listed on the demo plans are KPFF, Tarracon, MKA, Rushing and EA Engineering.

The overall master plan hasn't yet been approved. In the middle of the mall, where the NHL facility will go (though outside the 8.5-acre Phase I demolition zone), Nordstrom will close early next month. Inside the demolition zone, Macy's is winding down business now, as are other affected shops. Struggling JCPenny, though outside the demolition zone, is already closed and boarded up.

During a mall visit this week, all shops north of the food court were holding big sales, with mark-downs up to 80%. Fixtures and equipment were being sold, too. Perhaps half the smaller shops have already closed; and almost all of the retail kiosks are gone. Several businesses have posted handwritten going-out-of-business signs, with end dates set for later this month. The children's play area and a few massage chairs remained in use, where a few remaining shoppers were lounging and using the Wi-Fi.

Businesses with entrances outside the mall, and north of the Phase I demolition zone, will be open for perhaps a few years longer. Those apparently include Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Red Robin, Barnes & Noble, The Ram, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Mama Stortini's. Stanford's may or may not operate much longer; its parent company, Restaurants Unlimited, recently declared bankruptcy.

Management of our yet-unnamed NHL team has said it hopes to open the Northgate facility in the first quarter of 2021. The goal for the rebuilt KeyArena — as it's presently known, though the name will change — is to reopen in the fall of that same year, before hockey season begins.

Simon's SEPA filings state, “Demolition is planned to begin in the summer of 2019 and is expected to be completed by February/March 2020. Additional demolition phases would be required for future planned redevelopment.

“The structures to be demolished would include the Macy's department store, other commercial/retail space approximately 350 feet to the north and 225 feet to the south of the store's west facade, and a portion of the pedestrian concourse.”

Plans say about 510,000 square feet will be demolished, including parking lots that extend east to Fifth Avenue Northeast. (The latter is indicated as future construction staging.)

There will be three rinks inside the 139,200-square-foot Ice Centre building, numbered 1 to 3 from north to south. Rink 1 “will provide free public access the majority of the year,” says Generator Studio.

It continues, “On an average day, a skater, staff, parent, or spectator can enter from the main lobby doors off Fourth Avenue Northeast and gain access to any of the rinks, including Rink 1. Some of the team's practices will be open to the public and free of charge to watch. On occasion, Rink 1 will be closed to public access for private training or other closed team functions, which will include blanking out the upper level windows from the proposed restaurant.”

Rink 3 to the south, with a team merchandise shop, will open onto Central Park. It's labeled as “Community Rink.” A restaurant will overlook Rinks 1 and 2. The team's administrative offices will be north of Rink 1, closer to the two planned hotels.

To date there have been eight Northgate design reviews for both the master plan and its individual components. In order of priority, though Simon hasn't said as much, they appear to be the NHL facility, hotels, offices and retail, then lastly the mixed-use apartment buildings on the east side of the site.

No schedule has been announced for the project. Future phases will include the east side, southeast corner — now parking lots — and, eventually, the north one-third of the property now bordering Northeast Northgate Way.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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