Sneak Preview of Plans for Nordstrom Store in Vancouver

Last week, reports came out that high-end department store Nordstrom was officially  moving into the prime downtown real estate currently occupied by Sears.

Just one problem.  The Sears building is one of the ugliest in Vancouver – a giant, off-white marshmallow with almost no windows that fills a whole city block.  Not exactly the nicest digs for a glitzy retailer like Nordstrom.

Now, however, it looks like the building’s days are numbered.  Plans were revealed this week for what the new Nordstrom store will look like – and it’s anything but a giant marshmallow.  Designs call for an elegant, modern structure, with airy atria, 17-foot ceilings and even a landscaped rooftop, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

Best of all, the walls are almost all glass – hundreds of windows replacing the “unending urinal wall” of the existing Sears building.  All told, the Nordstrom will occupy a whopping 230,000 square feet of space on three floors.

If the glass-and-steel design looks somewhat familiar, that’s probably because it’s the work of local architect James K.M. Cheng.  Cheng is responsible for some of the most iconic and eye-catching contemporary buildings in Vancouver, including the new Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, the Shaw Tower and the Shangri-La, the city’s tallest building at 62 stories.

In addition to the Nordstrom store, the new structure will include 48,000 square feet of retail on the lower mall level.  Plus, there will be an extra 280,000 square feet of office space, divvied up into four, 70,000 square-foot units.  Offices this size are in short supply in downtown Vancouver, according to the Sun article, and should attract large companies that would otherwise move to the suburbs.

Work on the Nordstrom building is scheduled to begin in November and take approximately two years to complete.  Tenants will begin moving in by the end of 2014, and Nordstrom is scheduled to open in spring 2015.

What do you think of the new Nordstrom building?  Anyone sad to see the old Sears building go? 

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond?  Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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9 Responses to Sneak Preview of Plans for Nordstrom Store in Vancouver

  1. Jaime

    Although the Sears building is not an architectural masterpiece, Vancouver architects need to use different building materials besides concrete, stainless steel and glass. More of the same blandness adds to the architectural dullness of the City. We need something with the edginess of a Rem Koolhas inspired design.

    • Cdotha

      Here, here. This is yet another bland, boring Vancouver design. Why is it that Vancouver so often gets it so very wrong? You only have to look at a design like the Oslo Opera House to see that glass can be great.

  2. RG

    looks like a whole coffee break worth of thought on this one, more the same old uninspired Vancouver architecture.

  3. I can’t wait to see this building go. The white marshmallow needs some serious cosmetic surgery for Vancouver buildings – it s completely ugly. Love Nordstroms also so welcome the new retail giant.

  4. slantendicular

    A big step up. The replacement is serviceable – if not awesome.

  5. Thanks for the the valuable suggestions…keep writing on this topic. Remy I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. Another good post Remy.

  6. Haussmann

    Are they going to tear down the old Sears building or just put a glass facade around it?
    That block would make a fine City Square!

  7. Colleen

    Ho hum, another colourless block in our grey grey city. Where’s the liveliness, where’s the excitement. This is our city centre after all.

    I think the former white blob could have been a huge screen for a changeable graphic, wild graffiti, light show, video screen, animatronics, mural, etc. We don’t have such a blank space in the city and it could be fabulous. It is so big, it runs around an entire block, we have wasted a creative opportunity.

  8. Both are a bit uninspired, yet it will be nice to see the space at least improved a little bit. A little bit of cosmetic surgery on this new building concept would be interesting.