Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

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By an edhat reader

This information was overheard from a contractor who was talking a little too loudly in public.

Amazon is planning on opening a fulfillment center at the old Sears location employing about 500 workers. This information has not been released by the city.

These 500 workers will not be able to afford living in Santa Barbara on warehouse worker salaries because the city refuses allow building enough housing and rental units, so they will have to commute from outside of town on the already extremely busy freeway.

Does anyone have more information on this?

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REX OF SB Jun 24, 2019 10:44 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Commuting worries aside, I think this is a great idea. The Sears building is huge and there is lots of parking, plus, it's freeway-accessible. On the other hand, if it would mean bringing 500 workers into the area who don't already live here, perhaps it's not so wonderful.

a-1561399098 Jun 24, 2019 10:58 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

500 workers? Where are they going to park? The lot at La Cumbre Plaza is big, but not big enough for 500 workers' cars PLUS the shoppers/employees for the rest of the mall.

a-1561401495 Jun 24, 2019 11:38 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

What shoppers? We went to Lure a week ago and, except for the restaurant, La Cumbre Plaza is a ghost town. For what it's worth, Amazon runs buses at most locations. Free of charge for their employees. Greater Seattle is crawling with them. Imagine a couple of buses from Lompoc and Ventura would do the trick.

Icre84U Jun 24, 2019 01:14 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Don't like commenting on hearsay, but doubt you would ever see 500 workers at once. Other fulfillment centers work two or three shifts, packages and mail never stop moving at night....

Factotum Jun 24, 2019 11:03 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Easy access for the public and commuter bus lines. This is good news. Recycle, reuse, repurpose. Amazon has a tradition of providing worker shuttles to outlying suburbs. This is a win-win.

a-1561400742 Jun 24, 2019 11:25 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

How will the impact be any different than when Sears was operating there for several decades? If anything, Amazon is a likely to run their operation with less employees per square foot of building space. And I imagine the pay scale for Amazon employees isn't much different than Sears in regards to employees being able to afford to live here or elsewhere. What if Amazon had bought out Sears and moved right in, would this be considered an issue at all? That's essentially what's happened.

SantaBarbaraObserver Jun 24, 2019 11:43 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Strange assertions all around... So you're going off of a eavesdropped conversation and jumping to a conclusion that not only is this hearsay factual, but that the people who become employed will not be about to afford to live here or have anywhere to park? Considering that our local hotels and restaurants employ thousands of people who are paid min wage or very close, I'd say there are many local people who will be interested in these jobs. Also considering that there are literally 1000's of people who live in SB rent free or rent subsidized thanks to the various govt housing programs, there actually are enough places in the area available to those are capable and willing to pay. They're just gifted to some... To solve both the affordability issue and the lack of available units, we should shutter all the city and state housing here in town and instead open those apartments to people who are employed and or contributing to the tax base and to society. There is no reason for a city of 100k with dire affordability issues to be in the business of housing people. The percentage of units not available to the public is way out of whack for a small town and is a giant part of the housing problem.

PitMix Jun 24, 2019 01:19 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Do they really need a prime shopping location for a fulfillment center? Seems like an expensive move, and not in keeping with Amazon's bare bones cost structure.

FitRach Jun 24, 2019 01:39 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

This seems highly unlikely. The Sears building is 147,000 sq ft on multiple levels - Amazon fulfillment centers are 600,000-1,000,000 sq ft. By my estimate, even IF there were a fulfillment center in this space, it would surely need less than half the quoted work force.
https://www.aboutamazon.com/amazon-fulfillment/our-fulfillment-centers/fulfillment-in-our-buildings

Factotum Jun 24, 2019 01:44 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

it would serve a far more limited distribution area than the Inland Empire connections between Long Beach port and the rest of Southern California. This potential move would get delivery trucks off the highways, by having a subsidiary collection depots scattered around the state. Seems to tie into the use of the former Saks building down town - spread the logistics of their far flung operations.

CS805 Jun 24, 2019 02:08 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

@FitRach, not that I believe this story at all, but it's very possible that it could be a PrimeNow or Amazon Fresh distribution center, rather than one of the massive ones you are referring.

a-1561409098 Jun 24, 2019 01:44 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Perfect location any way you look at it. Easy on/off freeway access with almost no city street usage. Plenty of parking for workers. Lots of waling distance eating options for those employees who do not bring in their own food. Loading docks already in place. I hope they sponsor or allow the city to continue the electronics recycling in their parking lot. This is Amazon people...not a pop-up temp biz like they are pushing for downtown SB or stinky pot farm.

Factotum Jun 24, 2019 02:39 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Could be just temporary use of the current large empty space? It would be years before any major plan will be developed for this property. Who knows, maybe we will all be back to bricks and mortar shopping again and it can play a local retail role again. With ever increasing package delivery charges and not be able to see, touch and try large ticket items, shopping F2F could be the thing to do again.

bigone Jun 25, 2019 11:17 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

To Factorum: I think that was Amazon's long range plan, i.e., put brick and mortar stores out of business then take over the brick and mortar type of retail shopping for themselves.

a-1561413944 Jun 24, 2019 03:05 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

I don't get why we would need people from outside our area to fill any jobs. We have plenty of people looking for jobs amongst us already. I bet plenty of students need jobs too.

Factotum Jun 24, 2019 03:19 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

City reportedly has over 2000 mainly able-bodied souls living in our city limits, who are temporarily "down on their luck". They would be very happy to apply for these new jobs.

a-1561430083 Jun 24, 2019 07:34 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Many of those 'down on their luck' want nothing to do with a job except for collecting the paycheck - it gets in the way of their smoking their 'medicine'.

a-1561494027 Jun 25, 2019 01:20 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

@A-1561493617 6 1 JUN 24, 2019 03:05 PM It's not that we "need" workers from outside our area. It's the fact that the workers can't afford the high rents here and thus, they live out of town and commute here for work. And students working? Shudder.

Factotum Jun 24, 2019 03:15 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

If the city is smart they will encourage the highest and best use of this large plat of land within their city limits to generate more tax revenues for the city. Encouraging its permanent use as one more tax-free non-profit "affordable" housing scheme would be folly. High value land for high value use. Low value land for low value use. Those are the rules, folks. City has gotten burned in the past encouraging just the opposite.

a-1561422437 Jun 24, 2019 05:27 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Agree - who says workforce is only from out of town?? I’m sure plenty of locals would appreciate the work. And rotating shifts would assure all 500 not here at same time.

mesarez Jun 24, 2019 09:00 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

I can’t believe someone is actually complaining about 500 potential new job openings. Furthermore, deciding that these 500 workers will not be able to afford it here and would not reside in Santa Barbara.
You do know your attitude is poor and you contribute to those bringing our country down don’t you?

a-1561471129 Jun 25, 2019 06:58 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Maybe the city could negotiate with Amazon to hire SB city/Goleta residents only. We don't need more commuters from Lompoc. Like someone already mentioned, this would be shift work, 24/7. I am sure there are plenty of city residents who could use a second job, etc.

oops Jun 25, 2019 07:52 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Low paying jobs are generally for lower skilled people with little to no work experience. One should be self-motivated to use these jobs as stepping stones for better paying jobs. My son used his In & Out work experience to get a job at a local restaurant, first as a busboy, then a food expeditor, working his way up to waiter.
Sorry but not every job is equal and deserves top pay

PitMix Jun 25, 2019 01:51 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Do the math. 1000 low paid jobs lead to 500 higher paying jobs and so on. Even if all 1000 worked their butts off and were equally qualified, only 500 could get a better job. That's why the licensing organizations clamp down on the number of doctors, lawyers, accountants, and plumbers we have. Our system needs a lot of poorly paid people to work, fair or not.

a-1561474445 Jun 25, 2019 07:54 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Can someone ask at today’s City Council meeting at 2p during Public Comment. I thought Sears was to be the replacement police station with the automotive repair shop there.

alorsenfants Jun 25, 2019 07:54 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

It's extreme -- but I've suggested it to our governor more than once, mostly thinking of the Bay Area when I did -- I'll say it again here. If wealthy, coastal California needs affordable housing for people, use eminent domain. Take golf courses -- useless, water wasting tracts of land that only the most privileged get to enjoy -- and build reasonable homes and apartments on them. You're welcome

PitMix Jun 25, 2019 01:46 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Very difficult to use eminent domain, the property owners with the money get very upset. When is the last time you have heard of it being used in SB? They tried to use it for the bullet train in the Central Valley and those lawsuits are ongoing and endless.

aharwin Jun 25, 2019 08:55 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

I could be wrong, but I thought that the owners of the Sears parcel in La Cumbre wanted to turn this into 550 rental apartments. I'm not sure what happened after they discussed this with City Council.
Amazon just leased the old Saks building for an Alexa research project. Maybe the contractors were talking about both new sites and because this was an overheard conversation, then the two topics could have been misconstrued? I'm not saying you heard wrong, however this is how the game of telephone works.

a-1561482405 Jun 25, 2019 10:06 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Does anyone know if they will have a cafeteria that is open to the public? I sure hope so, and that the menu will have plenty of vegetarian options..not just unhealthy burgers and greasy fries, which are already available at The Habit 100 feet away.

a-1561484705 Jun 25, 2019 10:45 AM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

10:06 wow.... isn't it a little early in the planning process of a project that might not even happen to start expecting the employee cafeteria meets your dietary needs?

a-1561496115 Jun 25, 2019 01:55 PM
Amazon to Open Warehouse in Sears Building?

Oh Jesus, now the vegetarians are chiming in! Yes, they're going to have an amazing vegetable-onlyrestaurant to cater to the snowflakes. I hope they also have heavy-duty restrooms to handle all the diarrhea tat will be caused.

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