The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board on Wednesday approved a proposal to renovate and improve some of the upper floors to convert them to “outside tenant office space.”
Macy’s is in the process of shrinking its retail space in its landmark building in downtown Seattle to make way for more office space in the top floors.
The Landmarks Preservation Board on Wednesday approved a proposal to renovate and improve some of the upper floors to convert them to “outside tenant office space.”
Little is known about what would go into the upper floors of Macy’s, which company spokesman Jim Sluzewski said are underutilized.
The company has been working over the past couple of years to find a productive use for the floors, he said, but is not prepared to talk about what’s next.
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The only tenant on the seventh floor, Seattle Talent owner Hank Ritter, said he was told in late November that the top four floors of the eight-story building are being sold. Retail on two of those floors now includes luggage, furniture and housewares.
Ritter doesn’t know what for, but he said he knows that shrinking the store’s current retail floors means “they don’t have room for us.”
He agreed to end his lease after 11 years and is moving Oct. 1 a few blocks away to the Medical Dental Building on Olive Way.
City records show permit applications and landmark documents were filed last year.
The Macy’s building at 300 Pine Street, originally the Bon Marché, was built in1929 and declared a city landmark in 1989, which means the project needs a certificate of approval from the preservation board for any exterior changes, in addition to city permits.
The applications include adding new express elevators serving floors 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8, new shared lobby space and doors at the skybridge entrance on the sixth floor.
Brian Gowers, of the architect firm Callison, told the board that shoppers would still have skybridge access to the store,
An office lobby is also planned for the mezzanine level of the store, which is at the Third Avenue entrance. Two 11-foot-tall glass “clerestory penthouses” will bring daylight to the seventh and eight floors.
The eighth floor does not have windows but previously had skylights, which the permit is asking to restore as well to add more, making the floor “habitable,” Gowers told the board.
Voluntary seismic upgrades to the building are part of a companion permit with the city.
Jessica Clawson, an attorney with McCullough Hill Leary in Seattle, told the preservation board that Starwood Capital Group is partnering with Macy’s on the project.
In 2008, Starwood was part of a project to redevelop property on Second Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets for a new 23-story luxury tower. The $200 million hotel -and-condo project was stopped because constructing financing was lacking.
A Portland developer, Paul Brenneke, was originally part of that project but sold his interest in the property after years of campaigning to redevelop that site.
Brenneke is listed as the “financially responsible party” on the city permit application for the Macy’s project. It is unclear what his involvement is. He did not respond to requests for comment.
The Daily Journal of Commerce in Seattle first reported the possible sale of the top four floors in April.
Macy’s has been shedding some of its real estate around the country. Earlier this summer, The Wall Street Journal reported Macy’s was selling the five top floors of its nine-story property in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y.
In July, Macy’s also announced the sale of its Pittsburgh store to a developer planning a mixed-use redevelopment for the historic building.