IT’S QUITE A drab winter day over the Northgate Mall, and not just because of the thick cloud cover. 

The double whammy of a pandemic and the massive redevelopment of the site has rendered what’s left of the almost-shuttered mall a ghost town. A handful of stores in the outer perimeter are still open (I’ll never turn down a visit to Barnes & Noble), but those massive parking lots where it was so hard to find a spot just a few years ago are practically empty. 

Adding to the gloomy mood is the scene of demolition cranes chipping away at one of the mall’s most recognizable buildings left standing: the ’80s-era Nordstrom store on the west side of the once-bustling retail destination.

A construction worker who took an interest in my sketching said seeing the buff-colored big box come down stirred a lot of memories. “It’s sad,” he said. “This is where my mom would bring us to buy school clothes.” 

The building demolition clears the way for the continued transformation of the old mall into something I don’t know exactly what to call. Construction of the training facility and headquarters for the soon-to-debut Seattle Kraken hockey team is well underway. Office and residential buildings will come next, as well as a promenade and park that I look forward to enjoying on a day brighter than today.