Boyle Heights Sears reuse project takes a step forward

BOYLE HEIGHTS — A Planning Department official has approved a proposal to convert a portion of the landmark Sears store and warehouse at Soto Street and Olympic Boulevard into more than 1,000 residential units and build a new parking garage with about 1,500 spaces.

The project, which would include space for the existing Sears store, has touched off concerns about the gentrification of Boyle Heights as well as bringing additional traffic in the area. The nearly 13-acre Sears site is only a short walk from where another developer is seeking to build more than 4,000 apartments and condos on the site of the Wyvernwood apartments.

Last week, Associate Zoning Administrator Charles J. Rausch, Jr. issued his decision to approve the adaptive reuse and conversion of the 10-story building, which was purchased two years ago by Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof for $29 million. The approval and conditions, which are subject to appeal and further city review, spelled out how the building’s 1,840,000 square feet would be used:

  • 1,030 live/work units, with some of the units limited to artists, artisans and designers
  • 250,000 square-feet for the Sears store
  • 250,000 square-feet for creative office space
  •  98,853 square-feet for ground-floor retail in addition to the Sears store

The decision allows Shomof’s group to take advantage of several city incentives in connection with building density and parking but also imposed numerous conditions, including the operation of a  shuttle service to and from the nearby Gold Line Station, street widening and traffic signal improvements. The owners must also preserve the building’s historic features and not endanger its city and national historic landmark status.

The developer as well as members of the public can appeal the decision.

The office of Councilman José Huizar, who represents Boyle Heights, is reviewing the findings, said spokesman Rick Coca.  “We’ll wait to hear community and stakeholder feedback … before we weigh in.”

Support The Eastsider Today

Bloggers don’t live on comments alone. You can support The Eastsider, a privately-owned company, by purchasing an annual Reader Sponsorship. Your financial support and sponsorship will help defray the costs of gathering neighborhood news and stories. You can pay via PayPal or by using your credit or debit card. Your sponsorship is not tax deductible. Just click on the button below to select a sponsorship level and sign up today.

The Eastsider offers three levels of Reader Sponsorships:

$25 Reader Sponsorship

  • Get An Eastsider Reader Benefits Card that entitles you to deals and discounts from neighborhood merchants
  • You will be thanked by name on the blog and recognized as a sponsor of The Eastsider

$50 Reader Sponsorship

  • Get An Eastsider Reader Benefits Card that entitles you to deals and discounts from neighborhood merchants
  • You will be thanked by name on the blog and recognized as a sponsor of The Eastsider
  • Complementary Eastsider postcards

$100 Reader Sponsorship

  • Get An Eastsider Reader Benefits Card that entitles you to deals and discounts from neighborhood merchants
  • You will be thanked by name on the blog and recognized as a sponsor of The Eastsider.
  • Complementary Eastsider postcards
  • One-month advertisement promoting the nonprofit, school or charity of your choice located or active in our coverage area (email us for details).
Fill out my online form.

Thanks for your support!

Jesús Sanchez, The Eastsider LLC

Click here if you are having trouble viewing this form

Load comments