Macy's closing downtown Seattle store

SEATTLE — A historic Seattle landmark - the Macy's department store - will be shutting down in February.

The department store has been in downtown Seattle for 90 years. It's Macy's now but was the Bon Marché for decades.

"After careful consideration, Macy's, Inc. has decided to sell the Downtown Seattle Macy's building," said Blair Rosenberg, Senior Director of Communications for Macy's.

The store, located at the corner of Third Avenue and Pine Street, has been a longtime fixture in downtown, first opening in 1928. It opened as a Bon Marché and served as the department store's flagship location.

"That was our main department store. That was where everybody went. It was iconic. It was tradition – Santa Claus was here and so amazing to so many people. And all the history of here," said Brett Unbedacht, who lives in Seattle.

The store merged with Macy's and became a Bon Macy's in 2003, then just Macy's in 2005. Now it will close in 2020.

"That just makes me really sad. It's a historic site. It's shocking," said Wonderful Morrison, a long-time shopper at both the Bon and Macy's.

Macy's said this year it will still do the parade and fireworks show. But the iconic 161-foot star that signaled the holiday season in Seattle for more than six decades will not shine.

"That's something that brought some culture and vibrancy to downtown Seattle," said Liliana Gutierrez, who was downtown on Saturday.

See the 2017 star lighting below, and continue reading after the video. 

Seattle is moments away from the Christmas tree and Macy's star lighting up for the holidays. Protesters have been gathering near the tree all day ahead of the Seattle tradition of turning on the lights. Watch a live report on the demonstration on KIRO 7 live at 6 p.m. on-air or kiro.tv/LiveNews.

Posted by KIRO 7 News on Friday, November 24, 2017

Macy's said the star needs repairs and next year, there will be a "re-imagined" star -- and it's working with the downtown association to transition the beloved traditions like the parade and Santa Claus.

The company has not said why it's closing this location.

Though many people point out, you consider Amazon leases the top six floors of the Macy's building, it's a sign.

"Definitely the online shopping is taking over," Unbedacht said.
Bartell Drugs announced last week it was closing its downtown location - in part, because of crime concerns.

That has shoppers wondering if something similar played into Macy's decision to close its downtown location.

"Pretty much the junkies bullied everybody off the streets and the business, so it's like wow," said Julieonna Washington, who was downtown Saturday.

This building was declared a historical landmark in 1988 so the entire exterior, the marquee, and some features inside will be preserved.

But people say without Macy's, it'll be a big change to the landscape.

"Sad to see it go," Gutierrez said.

The store will remain open through the holiday season. Clearance sales begin in January 2020 and the store will be fully closed by the end of February.

Read the full statement below:
"After careful consideration, Macy's, Inc. has decided to sell the Downtown Seattle Macy's building. The store will continue to operate as normal through the Holiday 2019 season. Clearance sales will begin in January 2020 and the store will close on at the end of February. The decision to close a store is always difficult, and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers at nearby Macy's Bellevue Square, Alderwood, Southcenter and the Redmond Furniture Gallery, and online at macys.com.

Macy's and Bon Marche have proudly served our customers and the Downtown Seattle community for the past 90 years. We have helped establish traditions that bring friends and families together during the holidays. In 2019, Macy's will once again ring in the Seattle holiday season on November 29th with the 29th annual Macy's Holiday Parade and fireworks show. We look forward to working with the Downtown Seattle Association to transition these beloved traditions.

Macy's is also proud to have lit up the Holiday Star each year. Unfortunately, this year, the 161-foot high star is in need of repair and will not be hung in 2019. That said, we are happy that the new property owner has committed to displaying a reimagined star for the Seattle community to enjoy beginning in 2020."

The store was originally part of the Pacific Northwest department store chain Bon Marche, one of the area's most famous retailers which began opening location in the 1890s. Many Seattleites still refer to the store as the Bon.

In 1992, Bon Marche was bought by Federated Department Stores, Inc. who also owned the Macy's chain. Bon Marche was rebranded in 2003, briefly turning stores into Bon-Macy's. In 2004, the company announced that all regional chains would be renamed Macy's, according to HistoryLink.

The downtown store's closing comes after the shuttering of the Macy's locations at Northgate Mall and Redmond Town Center

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