Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - shopping centers

Designers: Graham, John and Company, Architects and Engineers (firm); Kitchin, Charles E., Engineer (firm); John Graham Sr. (architect/engineer); John Graham Jr. (architect); Charles E. Kitchin Sr. (civil engineer)

Dates: constructed 1948-1950

401 NE Northgate Way
Northgate, Seattle, WA 98125-6036

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Northgate was located on a plot bounded by NE 103rd Street and E 111th Street and between 1st Avenue NE and 5th Avenue NE. The mall was accessible via Exit 173 off Interstate 5. In 1953, the address for Northgate was given as 110th and 5th NE.

Building History

Designed by John Graham and Company for the Allied Stores Department Store chain (along with two local developers, Benjamin B. Ehrlichman and W. Walter Williams), the Northgate Mall was the first regional shopping destination in the United States to call itself a mall. It opened 04/21/1950, on 62 acres 8.5 miles north of Downtown Seattle. Northgate planned for 80 retailers in the center; some of the original occupants included the National Bank of Commerce, an A&P Grocery Store, Ernst Hardware, Newberry's, and Nordstrom's Shoes (the forerunner of the Nordstrom Department Store chain). A three-story, $3 million Bon Marche Department Store anchored the center's south end. In 2006, the mall had 125 stores and 980,000 gross square feet of leasable floor space.

Building Notes

Northgate featured one of the earliest movie theatres, the Northgate Theater, incorporated into a suburban shopping center, opening in 1951.

The mall also contained a medical building, the Northgate Medical-Dental Building, torn down in 12/2005.


Northgate doubled in size in 1965, with a $10 million, 25-store expansion. The construction of a main, high-speed artery through the heart of Seattle (and next to the mall), Interstate 5, fueled this large-scale growth. Northgate was fully enclosed in 1974. Continuous construction throughout the 1970s brought the number of stores up to 123 in 1980. Ownership of Northgate changed from Allied Stores to the Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, IN, in 1987. Further mall expansion occurred in 2006, adding 100,000 square feet on the west side of the mall; this renovation seriously affected parking at Christmastime 2006, when the number of automobile parking spots dropped from 3,965 to 3,079.

A new parking garage was built on the mall's south side adjoining the shopping center's J.C. Penney Department Store; this 570-space garage was set to open 03/2007.

A new parking garage replaced surface parking on the shopping center's west side in 2015-2016.

PCAD id: 7220