by Steven Sharp, photos by Hunter Kerhart
Earlier this year, architecture firm Omgivning granted us a look inside the historic Sears, Roebuck & Company Mail Order Building in Boyle Heights.
The 1.8-million-square-foot complex, built in 1927, is a well known landmark to freeway commuters, with a 226-foot-tall Art Deco tower that dominates the Eastside skyline. Mostly vacant since the early 1990s, it has been subject to numerous attempts at redevelopment in the decades since.
Developer Izek Shomof, who purchased the building in 2013, has announced plans to convert the historic landmark and its surrounding property into a multi-use development featuring office space, apartments and pedestrian-oriented shops and restaurants.
According to plans filed with the City of Los Angeles, the project would include:
Per information from Omgivning, the existing Sears department store which occupies a portion of the building’s first and second levels would be left in place. The remaining space would be repurposed as shops and restaurants, including a food market featuring over 50 vendors. The proposed office space would be located on a new mezzanine level on the second floor, as well as on the building’s third story.
The 4th-through-10th floors of the Sears building would be converted into live-work apartments. Residents would be served by amenities on the roof level, including community rooms, a gym, multiple swimming pools and athletic courts. These facilities would also be made available to employees of the building’s office employees.
Other proposed features along the building’s rooftop include restaurant and event space, which would be located along the base of the iconic tower.
On the upper levels, plans call for a mixture of commercial space and live-work lofts. The 13th floor would offer a collection of shops and restaurants. The 14th through 17th levels, located within the tower, would serve as one live/work loft to avoid increasing the building’s total floor-area ratio.
Developer Izek Shomof, who acquired the historic Boyle Heights Sears complex in 2013, plans to reposition the behemoth retail-warehouse structure as a residential mixed-use development….
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