Monthly Archives: December 2011

In memories yet green: goodbye Sears, hello Opportunity!

Sears: will it close the Oakland store in Uptown soon?  If so, good riddance!  Read more at sfIST.  (Note: Oakland Sears closing is complete conjecture at this point!)

The best thing that could happen to Uptown Oakland Sears is emptying and gutting it, seismically inspecting it and fixing if needed ($$!), putting in walls and stalls, creating a look down/up atrium indoors like Westfield-Bloomingdales has (Oh wait, we have the Rotunda building already), and turning it over to a mix of Chinatowners, Phil Tagami, Roy Alper and indie businesses a la PopUpHood — creating a Richmond 99 Ranch type mall. Maybe add F21+H&M to attract the “youth” market. And pop those windows for views of Uptown, the Lake and the Bay!

This week’s “big news” from Sears of 100+ store closings is actually a drop in the bucket, as Sears Holding Corporation has been rationing/ portioning out its store closings.  They’re also a mix of “brands” — Great Indoors, Kmart, Sears, etc.  There were actually 100 “other” store closings this year already! Click here for the list of pre-existing store closings.

The writing’s been on the wall for 1st world consumerism since Limits to Growth came out in the 70s. We all just kept spending thanks to increasingly large amounts of credit, now all poofed away.

As for the land itself, it’s potentially quite valuable: located on and above three BART lines (Fremont-Richmond, SF-PB, SF-Richmond), close to many intriguing eating and entertainment venues, and close to many apartment buildings as well as Kaiserville and what passes for Oakland’s Financial District.

Potential future tenants, current zoning notwithstanding:

  • the profitable non-profits of Mayor Quan’s largesse,
  • City of Oakland retirees and other retirees (sound-insulated old folk’s home on top floor or two),
  • lofts for The 5% and their hipster relatives (if retiree pensions get haircuts),
  • Can we all say at the same time: Bowling Alley! 😛
  • All hours Japan-style “love hotel” for nightlife lovers/ couples in the area (perfect: underground parking, close to transit, close to TONS of bars, restaurants and concert venues) on one floor (also sound insulated; no windows — I’d be happy to find some investors for this)
  • Mainland Chinese seeking permanent residency in the US.

What am I missing?  Anyway, Sears will be missed, but not by too many.  Their core demographic now shops WalMart and Target aplenty, sometimes the corner hardware store, and more often than not, Restoration ‘Hardware.’

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