Talk about mixed use. After sitting vacant for nearly a decade, a former Kmart store near San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive in Glassell Park will reopen next year as a sprawling job training center, thrift store, cafe, recycling center and community meeting space overseen by Goodwill Southern California.
Goodwill released more details about what it calls the Goodwill Community Enrichment Center a few weeks after the Atwater Village News turned up city building permits for a Goodwill store and warehouse on the property.
The closure of the Kmart store in 2004 prompted a tug-of-war over the nearly 10-acre property between community groups and Home Depot, which wanted to open a new store at the location. Home Depot gave up the fight in 2007 after the city imposed design guidelines on the area that called for a mix of uses instead of big-box stores. It’s not clear, however, if the uses Goodwill has in mind for the 135,000-square foot building and surrounding parking lot are what community activists had in mind.
In a statement, Goodwill said the enrichment center will “host a number of other top-rated nonprofit service provider” and serve a variety of purposes:
At GSC’s Community Enrichment Center, individuals with disabilities and disadvantages will access free career counseling and placement services, employment preparation courses, and educational and technical skills classes. Residents and businesses will safely and conveniently donate unwanted items and utilize environmental services such as e-waste recycling, secure shredding and document imaging. Consumers will enjoy shopping for clothing, furniture and home goods at our flagship retail store and clearance center, and dine at our training café. And, various community organizations and government agencies will utilize the facility for meetings and events.”
A Goodwill spokeswoman said the new complex will “complement” its existing training center and stores, including its well-regarded thrift shop, in nearby Lincoln Heights. “The center will complement our existing Career Resource Centers and programs and accommodate our expanding retail needs,” said Sasha Itzikman.