The path for one longtime Capitol Hill independent retailer hoping to weather the choppy waters of Seattle’s reopening after a year of COVID-19 restrictions will take the shop on a journey downtown and into a space where you might not expect to find a boutique focused on the creations of local designers and artists.
Ghost Gallery is leaving 11th Ave’s Chophouse Row and will join an unusual mix of retail being conjured as downtown’s massive Pacific Place mall gears up — again — after a major overhaul that has mostly yet to welcome back the flow of Seattle shoppers its multimillion dollar redesign was undertaken to attract.
“The space is about 1,200 square feet with tall ceilings, dark wood fixtures and a very antique vibe, so we’ll feel right at home,” Ghost owner Laurie Kearney tells CHS. This won’t be your typical “mall vibe” in any way, and Pacific Place has been so amazing with inviting local businesses to come down and create some unique spaces.”
Pacific Place is coming back to life after a brief opening this summer that showed off its overhaul but also laid bare the cold hard fact that many tenants were missing in the choppy recovery.
The major overhaul was centered around opening up the massive building and connecting it to downtown with “four stories of glass” that “flood the entryway with natural light and the incomparable energy of this neighborhood.”
The 335,000-square-foot shopping mall’s strategy for reopening also includes a “pop-in” effort with short-term, temporary setups for smaller, often independent retail concepts.
Kearney said Ghost Gallery will be joined by other Seattle ventures including The Handmade Showroom, Bezel & Kiln, and Onyx Fine Arts Collective. Kearney said it was Marlo Miyashiro, who owns the Showroom and Bezel & Kiln, who introduced her to the opportunity at Pacific Place.
While the stay will be temporary — in the long run, Ghost Gallery likely wouldn’t be able to afford rent in the premium shopping center — Kearney said her hope is to still be able to find community — even inside the cavernous Pacific Place.
“I’m especially excited to band together with my new neighbors to collaborate on events and ways to connect Downtown, Pioneer Square, Belltown and Capitol Hill, as places begin to open back up, more people get vaccinated, and we can once again safely gather to celebrate the strength and vitality of our small business community,” Kearney said.
The plan is to be reopened in the new Pacific Place suite in May where Ghost Gallery will be nestled between Bezel & Kiln and Tiffany’s.
In the meantime, the shop remains opens at Chophouse Row and has one last show scheduled before the move downtown.
Capitol Hill retail has also taken a hit during the COVID-19 restrictions. The latest to announce it is shutting down is Broadway candy shop Rocket Fizz and sad closures like Everyday Music are also reshaping the neighborhood’s commercial real estate market. One large space will transition from the big chain retail of Urban Outfitters to the new 58-suite Mosaic Salon and Spa Studios. Meanwhile, 15th Ave E is still bracing for the planned end of April exit of QFC from the street.
Kearney says she hopes to eventually bring Ghost Gallery back to Capitol Hill. After losing its home since 2010 at Summit and E Olive Way, the shop moved into a space inside the Chophouse Row development behind Cupcake Royale. Kearney hopes Ghost’s next Hill home won’t be quite so squirreled away and will have more of a presence and connection to the surrounding neighborhood streets — a retail goal not much different than her new, big friends at Pacific Place.
Ghost Gallery is open in Chophouse Row at 1111 E Pike through April. You’ll find it starting in May — sometime before Mother’s Day — downtown on the second floor Pacific Place. Learn more at ghostgalleryshop.com.
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