New Ross and Michaels stores closer to opening in SLO’s Madonna Plaza

The new Ross building in San Luis Obispo, California’s Madonna shopping plaza.
The new Ross building in San Luis Obispo, California’s Madonna shopping plaza.

Construction on the new homes for Ross Dress for Less and Michaels craft store inside the Madonna shopping plaza is well underway.

Building permits have been issued by the city of San Luis Obispo for commercial spaces at 273 Madonna Road. The two stores would be roughly 22,000 square feet each, according to plans.

The site is the former location of the Sears store, which closed in July 2017.

The city approved the demolition of the 75,000-square-foot Sears building and replacement with three smaller commercial spaces totaling about 56,000 square feet.

Michaels and Ross have already been identified in planning documents to fill the two 22,000-square-foot buildings, while the new tenant of a third space of about 12,500 square feet has yet to be identified.

madonna plaza (2)
Sears will be replaced by three new storefronts, two of which will be occupied by new Ross Dress for Less and Michaels stores. A tenant has not yet been named for the third space. Courtesy rendering

The extra space at the site will be used for more parking in front of the stores, including employee parking, according to site plans. The new building heights are estimated to be around 42 feet tall.

Ross also received approval for two wall signs by the city in February. “Coming soon” signs are posted in front of the two construction sites.

Requests for comment from Michaels and Ross officials about timelines for the openings were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Both stores have existing locations in SLO — Ross Dress for Less in the heart of downtown at 868 Higuera St. and Michaels at 3880 Broad St.

Michaels and Ross are continuing building projects in San Luis Obispo, California’s Madonna shopping plaza. The stores are planned for construction in the space formerly occupied by Sears. Joe Johnston

While a Michaels store manager previously said a move to the Madonna center, closer to the Highway 101 freeway, would offer more convenient customer access than on Broad Street, it’s unclear what might happen with the downtown Ross location if a new location opens across town.

Nearby, Sprouts Farmers Market recently opened in the SLO Promenade, and the outdoors retail chain REI Co-op is believed to be opening the adjacent suite, according to architectural documents submitted to the city, though the company hasn’t yet confirmed that.

The new building developments indicate a trend in the center to divide larger building footprints, previously occupied by one store, into smaller spaces filled by multiple stores.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.