Westfield Southcenter Mall is a bustling shopping, dining, and entertainment hub in the heart of Tukwila, Washington. This mall isn’t just a place to grab a new pair of shoes; it’s a community cornerstone.
With a rich history dating back to 1968, it has seen generations of families walk through its doors. Today, it is the largest shopping center in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest, offering many options for all ages.
The Historical Significance of Westfield Southcenter
Westfield Southcenter opened its doors on July 31, 1968, making it a 55-year-old establishment as of 2023. The mall was a joint venture between Allied Stores and the Southcenter Corporation, and then-governor Dan Evans attended its grand opening.
Over the years, the mall has been a commercial center and a gathering place for the community. It has hosted various events, from fashion shows to holiday celebrations, making it more than just a shopping destination.
The mall’s construction phase spanned from 1956 to 1968, significantly changing American retail culture. The architectural firm John Graham & Company was responsible for bringing the vision of a modern shopping center to life.
The mall was designed to be more than just a collection of stores; it was envisioned as a community space where people could gather, shop, and spend quality time.
The mall quickly became a go-to destination for shoppers all over the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, it has undergone several renovations to keep up with changing consumer preferences, but its essence as a community hub has remained unchanged.
The Architectural Marvels of Westfield Southcenter
The mall boasts a total retail floor area of 1,683,000 square feet, making it a sprawling complex where you can easily spend an entire day. The parking area is equally impressive, with a capacity for 7,143 vehicles. This ensures that visitors have a place to park their cars even on the busiest days.
John Graham & Company, a firm known for its innovative approach to retail spaces, executed the architectural design. One of the standout features of the mall is its terrazzo floors. These were crafted using 5,000 100-pound sacks of brown marble chips, adding a touch of luxury to the shopping experience.
The mall’s layout is designed for easy navigation, with wide corridors and plenty of natural light. Skylights and open spaces make the mall feel less like a closed box and more like an inviting space to explore. This architectural foresight has made the mall a pleasant place to visit, even for those not keen on shopping.
The Anchor Tenants and Their Legacy
Westfield Southcenter has four major anchor tenants: Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Each store’s unique history contributes to the mall’s overall appeal. For instance, Sears is one of the two remaining Sears stores in Washington, making it a nostalgic visit for many.
Macy’s and Nordstrom offer a range of high-end products, from fashion to home goods. These stores have been part of the mall for many years and have adapted to changing consumer trends to remain relevant. On the other hand, JCPenney offers affordable options for the everyday shopper, making the mall a balanced shopping destination.
The AMC movie theater is another significant tenant that has entertained visitors since its opening in 2000. With multiple screens and the latest releases, it’s a popular choice for moviegoers. This diversity in anchor tenants ensures that Westfield Southcenter has something for everyone, making it a one-stop destination for shopping and entertainment.
The Evolution of Westfield Southcenter
In 2002, the mall was acquired by the Westfield Group, marking a new era in its history. This acquisition led to a $240 million expansion in 2006, which added several new stores and dining options. The expansion aimed to modernize the mall and make it more appealing to a younger demographic.
One of the most significant changes was the opening of Seafood City in 2010. This supermarket specializes in Filipino, Asian, and Hispanic foods, reflecting the diverse community that the mall serves. Another noteworthy addition was Din Tai Fung, a world-renowned Taiwanese restaurant that opened in April 2017.
The mall has also embraced technology to enhance the shopping experience. From interactive directories to a dedicated mobile app, Westfield Southcenter has made it easier for visitors to navigate its vast expanse. These technological advancements have been crucial in keeping the mall relevant in an age where online shopping is becoming increasingly popular.
The Current Tenants and Dining Options
Westfield Southcenter is a melting pot of diverse retail stores and dining options. From fashion outlets like H&M and American Eagle Outfitters to specialty stores like LEGO and Apple, the mall offers shoppers a wide range of choices. Visiting this mall is necessary for those looking for things to do in Tukwila, Washington.
The dining options are equally diverse, with something to satisfy every palate. From the authentic Taiwanese flavors at Din Tai Fung to the casual ambiance at Duke’s Seafood, the mall offers a culinary journey like no other. Fast-food options like Shake Shack and Chipotle are also available for those looking for a quick bite.
The mall is not just about shopping and dining; it’s also a venue for various events and activities. For instance, Sephora offers a Personal Shopper Service, and Soma hosts a Bra Donation Event. These activities add an extra layer of engagement, making each visit to the mall a unique experience.
Westfield Southcenter in the News
In August 2023, the mall was in the news due to a large fight involving teens that led to a temporary lockdown. While no injuries were reported, the incident raised questions about the mall’s safety measures. The Tukwila Police Department responded quickly and resolved the situation without significant issues.
The mall has always prioritized the safety of its visitors, and incidents like these are rare. However, they serve as a reminder for the community to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. The mall’s management has assured the public they are taking additional steps to enhance security.
In the past, the mall has also been in the news for more positive reasons, such as store openings and community events. These stories reflect the mall’s ongoing commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all its visitors. This balance of news coverage keeps the community informed and engaged.
Westfield Southcenter has stood the test of time, evolving from a simple shopping center to a multifaceted community hub. Its rich history, architectural marvels, and diverse range of tenants make it a must-visit destination in the Pacific Northwest.
As it adapts and grows, one thing remains constant: its role as a cornerstone of the Tukwila community. So, the next time you’re in the area, why not stroll through this iconic mall? You’ll be glad you did.