Home Local News Seritage puts Sears at Orland Square Mall up for sale

Seritage puts Sears at Orland Square Mall up for sale

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Seritage puts Sears at Orland Square Mall up for sale

Mall owners and developers have been testing out different ideas for empty department stores over the past few years as they try to revive malls that can no longer depend on the stores to bring in shoppers. The demise and shrinkage of chains including Carson’s, Sears, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s has left big holes at many Chicago-area malls.

That includes the biggest one of all, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. After closing its store there last year, Sears no longer has any department stores in Illinois.

For many mall owners, the most appealing solution is to refill the space with one or more retailers. As of two months ago, fashion retailer Primark was in talks to lease the upper-level space in the Sears store at Woodfield, the Daily Herald reported in April. And Seritage managed to re-lease an empty Sears at the North Riverside Park Mall to a Round One bowling alley, Aldi, Blink Fitness and Amita Health.

But finding conventional retailers that want big chunks of space is a daunting task these days. There just aren’t enough of them in the post-COVID, e-commerce era. So mall owners and developers are embracing other uses, like apartments. Centennial Real Estate, the owner of the Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, has torn down an empty Sears there and teamed up with a residential developer to build more than 300 apartments in its place. Dallas-based Centennial and its partner, Chicago-based Focus, are building another 300 or so on the site of a former Sears at the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.

Including the parking outside the Orland Park Sears store, a developer would have a lot of space to build something big.

“As currently configured, this opportunity offers an unparalleled opportunity for an owner/user to acquire over 16 acres which can accommodate multiple redevelopment opportunities,” CBRE says in a marketing brochure.

Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings, now known as Transformco, created Seritage, a real estate investment trust, in 2015, and sold more than 200 Sears stores to Seritage, which has redeveloped many of the properties. Seritage now oversees a more diverse portfolio that includes multi-tenant strip centers, apartments and life sciences developments.

Although New York-based Seritage owns the Orland Park store, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group owns the Orland Square Mall, at South La Grange Road and West 151st Street. The mall lost another department store, Carson’s, in 2018, around the time the Sears there closed, but Von Maur took over the Carson’s space in late 2019. Macy’s and JCPenney also operate stores at Orland Square.

Seritage and CBRE representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Seritage reached a deal to lease the Sears store to AMC way back in 2017, even before Sears closed. AMC’s 10-screen, 45,000-square-foot theater would have been part of a broader redevelopment of the property. But AMC scuttled its plan last year.

Other local properties owned by Seritage include a former Sears store in Lombard now leased to the Dump and a former Sears at the Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet that is targeted for a residential development, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

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