Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Conversion to Office Space Breaks Ground for Sears in Santa Monica

Following a national trend to convert Amazon downtrodden retail to office and residential

The Sears building on 4th Street in Santa Monica will follow the trajectory of several Southland sites, moving from retail to office space. Owners Seritage Growth Properties and Invesco Real Estate announced the 100,000-square-foot building, which has landmark status, will continue to support retail and restaurant use, but will also include office space.

The building's name has already been changed to Mark 302, but the extensive renovations will not allow it to open until the fall of 2019. Those renovations will include the addition of a fourth story, an atrium, and a landscaped roof deck. Seismic retrofitting will also be necessary.

"An abundance of indoor and outdoor space" will be created according to Benjamin Schall, head of Seritage Growth Properties. This will be achieved via the introduction of skylights, criss-crossing walkways, open-plan workspaces, and cuts in the floors to allow the downward filtration of sunlight.

While such one-time iconic shopping centers as Sherman Oaks Galleria and the Westside Pavilion are closing their retail function in order to repurpose as office space, so too are a handful of Sears buildings transforming. In Hollywood, a Sears that closed in 2008 is now being turned into a retail/residential complex. In Boyle Heights, a Sears will be turned into over 1,000 residential units, 250,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of residential space. In this case, however, the original Sears business will continue to operate as part of the reimagined building complex.

Some real estate scholars say that, due to competition from and other online retailers, US retail space is overbuilt by 50%. Malls are closing across America. On the other hand, few cities have picked up as much population as Los Angeles in the last 2 decades, rendering land very dear, especially land near the Pacific Ocean, where the climate is temperate.


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