A star dims in Seattle.

Image: Jane Sherman

The downtown Seattle Macy’s will close its doors for good in February, ending 90 years of retail at 300 Pine Street. The department store’s iconic star will go dark for the first time this holiday season (new property owners plan to display a reimagined star in 2020). As e-commerce continues to skyrocket, the future of physical retailers remains dark.

The Beginnings of the Bon
What began in 1890 as a dry goods store in Belltown became the Bon Marché department store at Third and Pine. Its building, designed by prominent local architect John Graham Sr., contained state-of-the-art amenities—eight-passenger elevators, escalators, and a reconfigurable floor plan—that offered a new template for department stores of the twentieth century.

1929: The Bon Marché completes the first four stories of a department store that occupies an entire city block; it opens August 5.

1955: A four-story addition brings the building to over one million square feet.

1989: Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board declares the building a city landmark.

2003: The parent company of both Macy’s and the Bon rebrands Bon Marché as Bon-Macy’s. Two years later all stores become, simply, Macy’s.

2016: The building lands on the National Register of Historic Places.

2019: Macy’s announces the closure of its downtown Seattle store.

Macy's Star, by the Numbers
 

3,600

Number of light bulbs that power the 60-foot-wide and 161-foot-tall holiday star.

6

Number of floors Amazon leased in the downtown Macy’s building in 2017. The internet giant occupies over 10 million square feet of Seattle office space—more than any company in America.

10.7

Estimated percentage of retail sales conducted through e-commerce in the second half of 2019, which is up about 13 percent from the previous year, per the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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