First Look at Makeover Plans For Boyle Heights Sears Building

Shortly after prolific Downtown developer Izek Shomof bought the enormous and historic Sears Tower in Boyle Heights last fall, he promised a big multi-use makeover that would turn the campus into “a community by itself.” Now we’re getting our first look at what that could mean for the 1927 building and the rest of the 23-acre site; Shomof and building co-owner Leo Pustilnikov recently presented these renderings at a community meeting in Boyle Heights and talked about their still-very-preliminary plans. According to EGP News, there will be retail, office space, and a lot of new apartments added to the 1.8-million square-foot building, but there’s no low-income housing included right now (Shomof says they are looking into the “feasibility” of adding some).

The moderator for the community meeting said that current plans would keep the first-floor Sears store open (it’s reportedly one of the busiest branches in the country and its lease is good for at least 90 more years) and add other groundfloor retail.

“[T]he 2nd and 3rd floors would be creative/office work space and the 4th – 10th floors would be residential … We do not have an exact amount yet, but we can expect around 1,000 residential units comprised of studio units up to 2-bedroom units.

The community response has been mixed, with some wanting more affordable housing in the complex (and fearing that anything else will speed up gentrification) and others supporting a place where BH’s “young professionals and college graduates” can live within the neighborhood where they grew up.

Once developers get approvals, they’re aiming to finish the project in two years.

Story by Bianca Barragan

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