Merlone Geier envisions 1,300 homes at former Sears in Buena Park

City Council to decide Tuesday on plan for 1,176 apartments and 126 townhomes

Merlone Geier Partners Peter Malone and Bradley Geier with a rendering of 8150 La Palma Ave, Buena Park
Merlone Geier Partners Peter Malone and Bradley Geier with a rendering of 8150 La Palma Ave, Buena Park (MerloneGeier Partners)

Merlone Geier Partners wants to replace a defunct Sears at the Buena Park Downtown Mall with 1,300 homes.

The San Diego-based developer has filed plans to redevelop the closed Sears and Sears Auto Center into 1,176 apartments and 126 townhomes at 8150 La Palma Avenue, the Orange County Register reported. 

The City Council will decide Tuesday, June 27, whether to support the project.

The 25-acre development would replace the original anchor at Buena Park Downtown, which opened in 1961 and closed in 2020 after Sears announced it would shut down more than 100 stores nationwide.

The property and parking lots have since been used as a farmer’s market, pumpkin patch, Christmas tree lot and Tesla storage yard.

The residential project, dubbed the Village at Buena Park, would be built in two phases at La Palma and Stanton avenues. Pending approvals, the first phase would break ground this year and be completed by 2025, and the second would begin next year and be finished by 2027.

Plans call for four apartment buildings with between five and seven stories with balconies, to contain 1,176 apartments, of which 176 would be affordable, according to the project website. The white and brown apartments would contain mostly one- and two-bedroom units, with some three-bedroom flats.

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The 126 for-sale townhomes would be three stories and include ground-level patios, second-story balconies and two-car garages.

In addition to nearly 3,000 parking spaces, the village would include apartment pools, courtyards and a 1-acre central park, open to the public, plus a playground and dog park. 

Former Sears department stores are in redevelopment at malls across Southern California.

Among them is a $370 million plan by Merlone Geier to revamp a shuttered Sears store into nearly 700 homes in Glendale.

Brea just gave Indiana-based Simon Property the green light to replace a former Sears complex at the Brea Mall with a 380-unit urban-retail village.

Last July, Irvine-based Shopoff Realty Investments bought the 14.1-acre Sears portion of the Westminster Mall for $46.3 million. In April, it unveiled plans for a 26-acre urban village with 1,065 apartments, 102 townhomes and a 175-room hotel.

Early last year, the head of Shomof Group and developer Leo Pustilnikov announced plans to turn a century-old former Sears building in Boyle Heights into a $400 million “life rebuilding center” for 5,900 homeless residents. The 26-acre campus would include a medical clinic, mental health support and job training.

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