Masins, a fine furniture store in Pioneer Square since 1946, has put its building up for lease and plans to close its store, says President Bob Masin. The store in Bellevue, which is doing "very well," will continue, and Masin says he's looking for another location in Seattle. The company has been family-run for four generations.
Masin gave three reasons for pulling out of Pioneer Square, where the store occupies four stories at 220 Second Ave. S., one block east of Occidental Park. "Parking is very difficult," he said, which is an important factor for a store drawing from a wide region. A second factor is the stadiums, which can flood the area with people seeking parking places, even more so with the huge crowds for the Sounders FC and (next year) the Huskies. "Pioneer Square is great for dot-coms and weekday businesses," he said, "but the problems come on after hours and weekends," when his store does much of its business and must compete with crowds or with a feeling of emptiness. The third factor is "safety issues," on which Masin, as a strong supporter of Pioneer Square, did not want to elaborate.
Stores like Masins have been living on hope for the future, notably the opening of the nearby Waterfront Park (which won't be done until 2018) and the development of the North Lot of Century Link Field (Seahawks Stadium) with hundreds of apartments (which was delayed again last week in a dispute with the stadium that may be serious or soon resolved). New commercial businesses continue to be drawn to the historic district, particularly tech companies and video-game designers. For retailers, the recession lingers on and progress on street civility issues remains Seattle-slow.
Tellingly, the news came on the same day as a story that JCPenney and Target would be opening new, smaller-scaled stores in downtown Seattle, tapping the growing population of residents and workers nearby. Masin spells out more of the factors in his difficult decision in this story in The Seattle Times.