Northgate Mall customers finding their way to Alderwood

Alderwood Mall expects to receive increased holiday business now that Northgate Mall is being renovated . (Photo by Teresa Wippel)

When the announcement came that Northgate Mall was transitioning into a mixed-use development — including residential units, office space and a National Hockey League practice facility — some wondered about the impact on Lynnwood-based Alderwood Mall, about 10 miles north on Interstate 5.

The answer? “We’re seeing a lot of that business come our direction, which has been great,” says Alderwood Mall Senior General Manager Jerry Irwin.

Jerry Irwin

Irwin has been on the job at Alderwood Mall for five months, coming to Lynnwood from Seattle Premium Outlets, where he had a similar role. He says that Alderwood experienced a noticeable increase in customers coming from Northgate for the back-to-school shopping season, and he expects the same for the holidays.

Even the Northgate Mall walkers — senior citizens who use the warm and dry mall environment for their daily early-morning exercise — have migrated north, Irwin noted. “We absolutely love them,” he said of the seniors who traverse the mall, starting at 7 a.m. daily. “They really take ownership of the property and if they see anything they will let us know.”

Irwin says that the 1.3-million-square-foot Alderwood Mall, owned by Brookfield Properties, is full. “The good news is, we have replicated a lot of their (Northgate Mall’s) tenants,” he notes. “We have Nordstrom, Macy’s, JCPenney, and a lot of the smaller shops.” Alderwood in 2019 saw the opening of a dozen new retailers, including what Irwin describes as “first-to-market” stores like Altar’d States and Yi Fang Fruit Tea as well as popular retailers such as Soft Surroundings.

The mall’s goal is to attract customers of all ages. (Photo by Teresa. Wippel)

Retailers that cater to children are a growing market for Alderwood Mall, which Irwin attributes to more families moving into the area due to its relative affordability, compared to Seattle. Irwin says that the mall’s goal is to attract customers of all ages, including millennials who aren’t prioritizing car ownership.

The arrival of Sound Transit’s Link light rail to Lynnwood in 2024 “is also going to change the dynamics of how people get around and make it much easier for folks to come here and go downtown,” Irwin says. “I think that will be a great advantage for us as well.”

But with increasing competition from online shopping, successful shopping malls continue to reinvent themselves, and Alderwood Mall is no exception.

Avalon Alderwood will replace the demolished Sears store. (Rendering courtesy City of Lynnwood)

The Sears store was recently demolished and will be replaced by Avalon Alderwood. — two, six-story multi-family apartment buildings with a total of 328 residential units, and retail on the ground floor, including a Dave & Busters sports bar/arcade/restaurant.

“We’re evolving,” Irwin says. “It’s all about placemaking and experiences. For us it makes sense to have kind of a live-work-play experience. It gets people off the roads, it’s convenient for folks. They don’t have to travel far to go out to dinner to do their shopping. I think it’s going to be very popular.”

As for other changes, Irwin says Alderwood’s goal is to meet customer demand. That includes better restaurant options and a wider variety of those “first-to-market” stores.

Alderwood Mall exterior. (Photo courtesy Alderwood Mall)

“Our goal is remaining current and remaining relevant,” he says, “so that folks want to be here.”

A couple of notes for holiday shopping at Alderwood Mall: Gift-wrapping services will be provided by Lynnwood High School beginning on Sunday, Dec. 1 in Center Court near Macy’s. And Santa, of course, is available to see children and listen to their Christmas wish lists. See more on that in our latest Playtime column from Jennifer Marx.

— By Teresa Wippel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.