Following years of construction and restoration, the landmark Santa Monica Sears is ready to reopen as offices for rent.
The property, now rebranded as Mark 302, occupies a prominent site at the southwest corner of 4th Street and Colorado Boulevard. The Streamline Moderne building was one of many similar department stores built to sate pent-up consumer demand in the aftermath of World War II, according to the Santa Monica Conservancy.
While throngs of customers necessitated crowd control measures upon the store's opening in 1947, the rise of online retail spelled a different story in April 2017, when the Santa Monica Sears shuttered after 70 years of operation. But the store closure - as well as the arrival of Metro's E Line - would open the door for co-owners Seritage Growth Properties and Invesco Real Estate to transform the building into offices.
The two-year process gutted the interior of the former department store, while adding a fourth floor to the top of the building. As a result, the property now includes approximately 50,000 square feet of offices and 55,000 square feet of retail space at ground-level and in a basement.
A large skylight has been carved into the roof of the building, flooding natural light into a two-story atrium which runs through the center of the office floors. Other design features include outdoor terraces, a 5,000-square-foot courtyard, a rooftop deck, and large mural - spanning 25 feet by 75 feet - visible from 4th Street and Colorado Boulevard.
Completion of the project comes as COVID-19 has put a damper on the Los Angeles office market, though the developers have responded to the virus by emphasizing the safety features of the restored building.
“The converted Mark 302 features an abundance of outdoor working space, views of the Pacific Ocean, and an unmatched location next to the Metro station and the 10 Freeway,” said Seritage Growth Properties chief executive officer Benjamin Schall in a news release. “The project’s healthy building design prioritizes employee safety and wellness, including a dedicated lobby, touchless access and the latest in ventilation technology. The flexible, large floor plates are well suited for a diverse array of tenants, including leading tech, production, gaming, and medical companies.”
Seritage, which acquired hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores with redevelopment potential in 2015, could eventually develop the parking lots which surround Mark 302 with multifamily housing, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Should Seritage build apartments next to the shuttered department store, the New York-based developer would be in good company. Several local real estate investment firms are planning or in the midst of construction on properties near the E Line's Downtown Santa Monica Station, including WS Communities and Century West Partners.
- Santa Monica Sears (Urbanize LA)