Bellevue Nordstrom Plans Innovative Retail Amenities

Wend your way from the Bellevue Square parking garage to the Nordstrom store these days and you'll see evidence of changes afoot - stacks of two-by-fours, spikes of rebar, cranes lifting equipment through gaping holes in unfinished walls.

By mid-October, they'll be gone. In their place will be a 270,000-square-foot store, the second-largest of 77 Nordstrom stores.

By next July, the renovation will be completed, creating a showcase for Nordstrom's newest retailing concepts and amenities.

The store will include a restaurant called The Pub, and a "mother's room," set up just for nursing in privacy or changing diapers.

At a makeover area, cosmetics sales people will smooth on the latest in lipstick shades and sunblocks. If you're looking for an independent opinion, a Nordstrom beauty director will be on hand to evaluate your needs and suggest various manufacturers' products.

"We're the first to do this as a store," said Nordstrom spokeswoman Cheryl Engstrom.

Nearly every department will be 25 percent to 40 percent larger, and new departments, such as couture, will debut.

Other features include the Garden Terrace, a restaurant offering casual dining; a family restroom, where parents can take small children of the opposite sex; a second espresso bar; and more seating areas and dressing rooms.

The Bellevue Square store is expected to be a magnet for Nordstrom shoppers locally. But Bellevue store manager Greg Nelson said he doesn't believe all the special embellishments will make other stores around - such as the downtown Seattle store - suffer by comparison.

"We think there will be a lot of interest in this new store," he acknowledged, noting that shoppers always want to check out what's new. In the long run, though, he said, "It tends to help business for all the (area's) stores."