This nondescript retail area was once the site of a massive Sears distribution
warehouse serving the northeast. The five-million-square-foot complex employed
4,500 people at its peak and included a Sears retail store, a 14-story clock tower,
several warehouses and the company's regional headquarters. The red-brick gothic
complex opened in 1920 and had its own power plant and fire station.
As Sears declined in the late 20th century, operations at the facility slowly
wound down until it was closed in February of 1993. The main buildings and 48
acres of land were sold to a Philadelphia developer for demolition and redevelopment
with the Home Depot and other retail stores pictured here. The remaining 72-acre
warehouse and distribution facility to the west was sold to Cardone Industries
(an auto parts remanufacturer and distributor) and remained in operation when I
visited in 2006 and 2008.
The two surviving portions of the main complex are the power station (which
serves as a vertical billboard and cellular phone tower) and the fire station
(which still supports the surrounding community). Supposedly, somewhere underneath
one of the stores is a 1960's-era subway station built for a proposed line
that was never realized.