OAKLAND (KCBS)— Oakland may be a step closer to biding farewell to its last remaining major downtown retailer. However, a deal to redevelop the old four-story Sears building in Uptown into housing, a hotel and various retail outlets has fallen through.
The store at 1955 Broadway and 20th street is mostly vacant, covered in graffiti and has suffered several broken windows from numerous protests. Those windows have been replaced, although a few headless mannequins linger.
Soloman Ets-Hokin, a retail expert just blocks away at Collier’s— a commercial real estate broker, said the larger question is what the future holds for the half-square block building.
It’s been reported that another unidentified buyer is lining up to make the purchase.
“You have a real burgeoning arts and entertainment and dining scene in Uptown Oakland and the Sears building is an opportunity to really build on that,” he said.
Sears this week acknowledged it had pulled out of the pending sale. When asked if we should expect a more modern, scaled down Sears store as a potential future tenant in the building, Ets-Hokin said he personally thinks the retailer is looking for a “graceful exit”.
Many in Uptown have said a redevelopment of Sears would really boost a neighborhood on the rise; something that the redevelopment of the Fox Theatre started several years ago.