Former Glassell Park Kmart to become a one-stop social service-Goodwill Store-cafe-recycling center

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.


  1. I wonder if they will do something with the parking lot… maybe convert a portion to green space for the community?

    • What a great idea. It’s a very large space worthy of invigorating the community. Specially in a place like the Fletcher-San Fernando crossing streets- fast food nation!

  2. What a waste of commercial space!

  3. sounds like a great idea to me. not really sure how turning a long vacant eyesore into a job training facility is lame, but to each their own.

  4. Finally a store that everyone can afford! That ought to please all of you povos. Now hurry up and open my Whole Foods so those of us with money can rub it in your faces.

    • had to look that one up:

      1. A poverty stricken member of society who often can be associated with “housos” and “deros”. Often without or little money.
      Other uses- Pov

      “He’s such a povo”
      “dont be so pov”

      short for poverty.
      means that you are cheap or poor.
      “Sarah is so povo because she can’t afford mcdonalds”

      • Michael,
        Why do you assume that you’re ignorance of the meaning of the word “Povo” is universal? You are wasting Internet time at the public library whilst others are waiting in line for the seat you occupy in front of the shared PC. Neighborhood kids need that pc for their homework.

  5. But we already have a community center in GP.

  6. Awesome news for an area that severely lacks community resources.

  7. This is so wonderful! the Goodwill does amazing work for folks with sometimes very limited prospects. I am thrilled they will be on that corner. I’ll go and order something from the cafe. I’ll go and buy some used stuff. I’ll go just to be supportive that this organization continues to care for the disabled and give them meaningful work. Great news, indeed, but I do hope they plant some trees and green up that massive parking lot. Maybe the community (myself included) could volunteer to help plants some trees and native plants.

  8. This is fantastic! Really glad this space is going to something good for the community. It sounds like there’s going to be tons of opportunity for local folks that care about the area to do something great. And a cafe too! Not many non-chain or even semi-healthy options for food in this area.

    This really has the potential to be something amazing. Thanks for posting.

  9. Good Job Goodwill

  10. Isn’t there a huge Goodwill facility on Avenue 19 in Lincoln Heights, in the shadow of the 110 Freeway and across from the old jail? I was hoping to see some sort of mixed-use development at the old Kmart site – retail on the ground floor with condos on the second and third (and fourth?) floors. Glassell Park could use some middle-class influence, especially to dilute the poverty and crime emanating from the Drew-Estara region.

    • I’m excited to see a Goodwill here. The other thrift stores nearby are too expensive. I hope they’re coffee shop is open 24 hours.

  11. I would have like to have seen a Walmart or Kohl’s

  12. James is right we already have a Goodwill less than 2-3 miles from the old Kmart and have you seen the winners that frequent that come out of that Goodwill? We need to improve Glassell Park so more investors can find interest in our community! It makes me sad to see that Echo Park and Highland Park are all improving yet Glassell and Cypress Park are getting left behind.

  13. Open your eyes, Glassell Park is already in the process of gentrifying. Echo Park started more than a decade ago and Highland Park has been in full swing for the last 4-5 years.

    If you want to live in a mixed-use monstrosity, I hear the Orsini still has some openings!

    • Why do people get upset and throw “gentrification” around when some of us want to see our community improve?

      I believe and I’ve invested in my community and I’d like to see my investment grow! Why are people responding like I want something outrageous for Glassell Park?

      • Everybody wants to see the community improve, not just you.

        Seeing longtime residents priced out of neighborhoods they worked hard to improve really sucks. There are a lot of people who love their neighborhood and work hard to clean it up but can’t afford to own a place. A lot of times those are the effects of gentrification.

    • There’s a strong demand for affordable housing in the area – not just apartments, but condos as well – and I think it would be great to see some condos built at the former K-Mart site. The Orsini complex seems like it was built right up to the street, but the K-Mart property is so huge that I think a four-story or five-story complex with some sort of retail or offices on the ground floor and open, green space in front would be quite nice. Ditto for the former K-Mart site on Foothill in Sunland.

  14. Don’t you think that after ten years of a big vacant site and boom/bust/boom cycles we would have already seen condos/small lot subdivision/mixed use hell go in there if it were a viable site for it? Too big a risk. Don’t blame the NIMBYs on this one!

  15. very sad and snobby comments from a few to many, but then again ignorance is bliss! I recommend that all the people with so called “money” to move on! Don’t waste your internet time on replying because I have better things to do.
    Happy Sunday to everyone, from this Chica who lives and works in Glassell Park.

  16. We already have a Goodwill in the area and a Out of the closet nearby. We need a Walmart or a Kohl’s. There are no other clothing or household stores in the area.

  17. This city is a disaster for new profitable development. Pile on the save my village people and the historic building designations and the neighborhood will never see any useful improvements. Look at the Van de Kamps property. The historic status cost the developer over $2 mil. extra. He could have torn down the façade and built a replica of what is there using modern materials and saved all that money. Pile on the gov’t regulations and delays and the project lasted an extra 5 years and went several times over budget.

    You locals will be sorry when you see the degradation in the neighborhood. There is no need for the “environmental services” mentioned above and the training cafe will undoubtedly have lousy food and service. No different than the “Homegirl Cafe” in LA. I’ve tried several non-profit eateries and my experience is always more charity than enjoyable.

    You are just going to see many more homeless and unemployed people bringing the area down. It happens to many of the centers where Goodwill goes. This one uses the code words of “helping those with disadvantages”. They are going out of their way to attract more of the same.

    Good Luck. Cheers.



  19. Progress can be scary, but it can also be great. With all of the protections in place for people who rent (rent control) as well as the building of new “affordable” housing on SFR I really don’t understand why folks are so upset about the changes in our neighborhood, the change is balanced..

    Please keep in mind, these are NOT changes that are happening overnight, they take time. Second, if you want (demand) low rent (subsidized) housing, please keep in mind that SOMEONE is paying for that, and many times it’s thanks to an increase in property taxes.

    This is what I see from 10+ years in my ‘hood. I see a huge population of people who trash the streets, both in attitude and with their crap. I see an idea that it’s normal and okay to destroy property, and abandon cars.. I was raised with the idea that you take care of your ‘hood and in doing so protect your quality of life for your own family and your neighbors. It’s a sense of pride that is lacking on the doorstop of so many homes. When I drive down the road and see people drop trash out their car, or gang tags on a wall every night, or cop cars investigating another gang issue and my street is closed, AGAIN, then YES I do want for my neighborhood to change.

    As far as the goodwill goes, I am sorry, I do not think it’s the highest and best use for the property. It may bring a few (low paying) jobs but it will also bring more of the same, and we need to work together to elevate our community to it’s full potential. When there are St. Vincent, Goodwill and more just down the road, I see that the needs are met for the community that they help and support. Why not a magnet community college teaching technology and computer sciences? Why not a new park, soccer fields, community centers … how about a mixed use with cabanas for artists and small business owners, along with sports fields and walking trails? …

    It was a blank slate, an opportunity for us all to raise our community standards and strive for more … the potential is there, and yet again we failed ourselves with mediocrity.

  20. I have been praying for years for a Fry’s store to go in that spot, there is no reason why DTLA can’t have an electronics store.

    A WalMart would be good as well.

  21. Goodwill sounds like a great idea. This area could also use a gym, preferably, one with boxing. I’ve been bummed out since the one on avenue 19, layac, closed down. The other boxing gyms around the area are also too expensive and are not part of USA boxing.
    -looking forward to the new goodwill

  22. I actually can not wait for this. I am so excited that this will be a goodwill. I love goodwill.. 😀

  23. waste of a great location.

  24. Veronica Flores (@VeronicaInLA)

    Ugh, I’ve been eying this space for years as well! Maybe they’ll want to collaborate? Otherwise, on to the next abandoned warehouse! 🙂

  25. I wanted a SAM’S CLUB here, I don’t like this idea but oh well.

  26. I hope everyone that needs it will use job services to the fullest to make more money as fast as they can! Then there will be no one that “needs” this junky improvement, it will then have to close down, and the corner can get a real upgrade for the neighborhood!!

    If you want local good paying jobs and improvement on that property a Wholefoods and surrounding mixed use would be so much better suited!

  27. “Goodwill Store” theirs so many out their, come on!!!!! what so special about this new one. “Café” what more do the HIPSTERS want. “Recycling center”, who recycles now a days. With this bad economy I still haven’t seen a recycling center full of people recycling items. Again, what’s so special about this one.

    I don’t like the idea at all, its a waste of space. Their are soooo many great things it can be. Its clear that the city doesn’t know how to take advantage of a perfectly empty site. Study the site, know the context, the surrounding neighborhood (residential / commercial areas) and then gather ideas and come to a conclusion. A conclusion that would not only benefit the community but the city as well.

    Yes, at the opening everybody will be excited, people coming from nearby cities, but just give it a few months and that excitement will all change. The people will soon realize that theirs nothing beneficial that they can buy.

    “WALMART” “WALMART” “WALMART” “WALMART”!!!!!!!!!!! is a start….

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