At the beginning of August, Pacific Galleries Antique Mall announced it would close for good at the end of the month. The 30,000 square foot mall located at 241 South Lander Street in SoDo houses about 150 antique dealers, all of whom slashed prices and made plans to move out when the closing date was announced. The mall will still be closing — at least according to Pacific Galleries’ social media — but new information suggests this isn’t the end for Seattle’s premier antique shopping destination.
“There will be a new ownership shortly,” said Grace Li, who owns the antique mall and the building with her husband, Larry Li. They had planned to permanently close the mall, but talks with a potential new business owner started over the last couple of weeks. “There have been some changes with this new ownership coming in. I think we will extend the closing of the mall perhaps two more months, 'til the end of October,” Li said. Ideally at that time, the new owner would have signed a lease and taken on the business.
“I’m not a young woman anymore,” Li laughed. “There’s other things I’d like to do in my life. Business is good, but it also demands a lot. It’s good to have a younger person to take care of this business.”
Li declined to name the potential new owner, but she said there would be more information coming in the next few weeks.
On Saturday, Noah Chen, a spokesperson for the Lis, sent out an email to vendors that announced a “recent development” allowing Pacific Galleries to extend the closing date to the end of October. The dealers could continue renting their booths at the current rates, but because some staff had already made plans to move on, mall hours might be spotty. Vendors’ rents would be prorated based on the mall’s open days. “We are working on keeping the mall open indefinitely,” Chen said. At the same time, Chen's email also cautioned that dealers should still anticipate moving out after October.
Having already liquidated most of their stock, many of the vendors are sticking to their original move-out plans for the end of this month.
Pacific Galleries can trace its roots back to 1972, when it was primarily an auction house in Belltown. The Lis bought the business in the early 2000s and moved it to its current location in SoDo. The building once hosted an auction hall, and it currently features office spaces available for lease. Under the stewardship of the Lis, Pacific Galleries has become an antique destination for the Pacific Northwest, often drawing customers from Canada and other states.
Since the news of its closing, Li reported that faithful customers have been lining up even before the mall opens, wanting to get their fix of antique finds one last time. Hopefully with a new owner Pacific Galleries will keep selling its unique treasures for years to come.