retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

"The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, / Gang aft agley,”  poet Robert Burns once wrote.  And for modern proof that the adage is true, go no further than Santa Monica, California.

It is there, the Los Angeles Times reports, that an old Sears store that had been there since immediately after World War II, becoming a kind of local landmark, had "spent more than two years getting a $50-million makeover to turn it into a chic office building for creative types, spiced with a choice handful of restaurants and stores appealing to locals and the millions of annual visitors who typically visit the seaside city."  The project, the Times writes, was intended to "be a showcase for how to reuse obsolete department stores in urban areas."

However, the "timing has run into a global catastrophe" as "the pandemic has knocked the office and restaurant rental markets on their heels."

The hope is that with the end of the pandemic will come a resurgence in interest in office space, restaurants and bricks-and-mortar retail.  But, of course, that is all unknown at the moment … though the answer, when it comes, will be an Eye-Opener.