Former K-Mart Center Building

By Marissa Mitchell

 

Diamond Bar – Many citizens in the city of Diamond Bar are wondering just what is going on at Diamond Bar Boulevard (where the “old K-Mart” used to reside), and there is thankfully some new revealing information.

Diamond Bar’s Kmart store, which included 84,000 square feet of inside retail space plus a garden center of about 10,000 square feet, opened in 1975 and closed in 2014 amid the company’s ongoing financial struggles.

While the property is managed by private owners, construction is currently underway. According to Community Development Director Greg Gubman, there have been several approvals solidified thus far of new tenants in what will become the renovated building. Of those tenants, Sprouts Market and Ross are confirmed, and will be completed and operational by the projected date of Dec. 2017.

“It was a long, slow death,” said Greg Gubman, the city’s community development director. “Kmart and Sears have both been struggling and Kmart had more value in the land lease than in the general sales from that site. They sold their lease to the property owner.”

Gubman also said that there have been a few approved establishments for the empty lot space just adjacent to Diamond Bar Boulevard: Chipotle and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, the latter of which will have a drive through. These are also estimated to be completed by the end of the year, though that completion time may run into early next year.

Sprouts Farmers Market is in the process of hiring more than 100 employees for a 30,000-square-foot Diamond Bar location that will occupy part of a former Kmart store.

The market, at 239 S. Diamond Bar Blvd., is scheduled to open Oct. 11 and openings are available for a variety of full- and part-time positions, including department managers, produce, dairy and bakery clerks, meat cutters and administrative and scan coordinators, among other roles.

More information can be found at sprouts.com/careers or by calling 866-925-2396.

There will be additional tenants occupying the renovated former K-Mart building, and the private owners of the property are still securing those tenants.

When asked how this will benefit the city, Director Gubman said, “These various retail uses will help diversify the revenues for the city of Diamond Bar.” This is not only needed in the community, it is greatly desired, as the current state does not provide benefit or aesthetic appeal.

One of the goals delineated by the City Council at the beginning of the year to promote long-term economic development was the following: “In cooperation with the property owners, redevelop the K-Mart site to include retail and restaurant options.”

Gubman said a Ross Dress for Less will move into another portion of the building and a third section will be subdivided between three tenants that have yet to be named. Another 10,000-square-foot addition to the building is under construction where the garden center used to be.

“They are also proposing two drive-thru buildings out front,” he said. “One would have a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and a Chipotle Mexican Grill and another building would have a Habit hamburger restaurant.”

The new lineup of stores is tentatively going to be called Diamond Bar Ranch. It sits adjacent to the Diamond Bar Plaza shopping center.

Gubman said the city is glad to see Sprouts and other stores preparing to move in.

“We’re pleased that we’re getting national retailers,” he said. “The community seems pretty excited about a Sprouts coming in.”

The building’s conversion also has generated some welcome construction jobs. Tony Gonzales of Savant Construction Inc. in Chino said his company has 15 to 20 workers doing interior work on the Sprouts store.

“We’ve been here for about three months,” he said. “We tore out the slab and did new concrete, electrical and plumbing work, lighting and all of the finishes.”

The city is now fulfilling that objective, much to the relief of many Diamond Bar residents.