|(Feb. 15, 2021) -- Forbes> was first to report (Feb. 13) that the ELB Long Beach (Los Altos) Sears (2100 Bellflower Blvd./Stearns St.) is among locations added to a closure list by Transformco, Sears parent company.
The ELB Long Beach location was originally a popular Broadway location. As LBREPORT.com reported last month. the Transformco owned ELB KMart at Bellflower/Spring will be closing effective April 18.
While immediate speculation centers on possible future tenants, others are mindful of potential future impacts of land use bills now percolating in Sacramento If enacted in their present form (caveat: bills are commonly amended in the legislative process) some may invite future housing in ELB locations long treated as commercial and basically maintained that way in the City's 2017-18 Land Use Element revision.
As one example, SB 6 (whose principal co-authors include State Senator Lena Gonzalez [D, LB-SE LA County] would deem a housing development project an allowable use on a "neighborhood lot" it defines as a parcel within an office or retail commercial zone (not adjacent to an industrial use.) Last year, a predecessor to SB 6 (SB 3107) cleared the state Senate came within one Assembly Committee vote of advancing toward an Assembly floor vote and possible enactment. SB 6 as currenty written would apply to locations that allow mixed uses (commercial + residential) and the Kmart/Sears sites are currently zoned commercial...but a City Council majoority could make land use/zoning changes or Sacramento lawmakers could amend SB 6, or both.
The City of Long Beach took no position on SB 3107; letting it advance without City opposition (by city staff or any Councilmembers.)
SB 15 (by another author) would provide incentives (grants) to local governments that rezone idle sites used for a big box retailer or a commercial shopping center to instead allow the development of workforce housing "by right." SB15 defines "workforce housing" to mean owner-occupied or rental housing development in which 100 percent of the development projectís total units are for lower income or moderate-income households.
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Sears, with locations now passing into history, was once the nation's largest retailer. It had multiple LA area locations including east Hollywood (Santa Monica Blvd. west of Western), Pico Blvd/Rimpau (near central LA's San Vicente) and Boyle Heights (a BIG location). Today, fewer than three dozen Sears brick and mortar locations remain nationwide and by our unofficial count only four remain in the LA area
Sears pioneered a marketing approach with parallels to those now adapted to 21st century tastes by a new generation of operators. Sears combined brick and mortar locations with a mail order delivery catalog (a must-have for rural residents).
Sears also owned/operated WLS radio, Chicago (its call letters stood for "Worlds Largest Store") wikth a 50,000 watt signal blanketing multiple states in nighttime hours. In the 1930's and 1940s, the WLS "National Barn Dance" featured stars including Gene Autry and Pat Buttram amid frequent mentions of products in the Sears catalog.
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