02 May 2013

Aurora Square, Shoreline, WA

A relic of retail

26 December 2021

It was bright and sunny spring day in 2012 when, on a trip south on Aurora Boulevard in the city of Shoreline, I noticed this-

To many, I'm sure it's just another Sears. Not even that, but an old Sears that looks about three days away from being shuttered. The modular design of the building, devoid of curves, any angles other than right and the clichéd stonework so prevalent in today's retail architecture, surely has to put some soccer moms off. But the brutalist design and sandy tones of this classic relic drew me in. I had to take a closer look.

When I was finally able to look around, I was in for a few surprises. The bottom level, with its Sears Outlet and Auto Center was located partially underground, with further entrances and parking directly above. There was also an entire shopping center attached to the Sears. Called Aurora Square, it features a Big Lots and a Central Market; a sort of community retail facility for the city of Shoreline. The design of these buildings is in stark contrast to Sears' look, to the point where they nearly clash. I was hoping to find some remnant of a lost and forgotten indoor mall, but, alas, there was none.

Aurora Square Pamphlet ca. 2013.  View the full PDF here.

But Sears remains the anchor and architectural focal point of the entire center. Just recently, I finally had the opportunity to take some photographs of the old blonde, and I'm glad I did. Developers in the area predictably refer to the entire complex as outdated and obsolete, and I'm sure are just salivating at the opportunity to "update" this Sears into an indistinguishable mess of pointless spires, whitewashed stucco and characterless sterility. Surely, in today's disposable world, something this enduring and representative of a time well past will surely never get the appreciation it deserves from the general public. But at least here it does.

The beauty of the classic mid-century Sears at Aurora Square.


-26 December 2021

Aurora Square Pamphlet ca. 2020.  View the full PDF here.

In the late 2010s, a redevelopment was announced by the center's owners.  Called Shoreline Place, it will be a mixed use development with the first phase involving the demolition of the Sears building.  It will be replaced with multi-family dwellings.  It's sad to see the modern block of beige go, but its time came and went a long time ago.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up near this Sears and I even worked at it for one winter season. I loved skateboarding in the huge back parking lot. The abandoned call center behind it is also spooky awesome.