Newest round of Sears closings reaches store in Metro Detroit

Sears Holdings Company plans to close an additional 20 unprofitable Sears stores in the U.S., according to a filing on Friday with the SEC.

One of those will be one of Metro Detroit’s first suburban Sears: The store in Macomb Mall in Roseville, north of Detroit.

“The Sears closing brings tremendous opportunity to the mall and surrounding area as a whole,” said Chris Brochert, co-founder and partner at Lormax Stern Development Company.

Lormax Stern, based in Bloomfield Hills, bought Macomb Mall in 2013. Since then, it has invested at least $30 million into the formerly distressed property, bringing it to 95 percent occupancy by 2016.

Changes at the 50-year-old mall – one of Metro Detroit’s first regional shopping centers – including demolishing some space and rebuilding for new tenants, like Dick’s Sporting Goods.

But as the mall rebounded, Sears remained in its owned space in the 900,000 square foot shopping center while the chain struggled.

According to Roseville assessor records, the store – built in 1964 – is 378,922 square feet. It generates more than $320,000 per year in property taxes on property assessed at about $5 million.

Changes to the Sears property already are underway: Brochert said an At Home store is under construction in a portion of the store.

“(The) national retailer selling home furnishings and accessories will take a substantial portion of the Sears store and will open this fall,” Brochert said. “Construction of At Home’s new store commenced a couple weeks back and will be a great traffic generator and addition to the Macomb Mall tenant roster.”

According to the SEC filing by Seritage Growth Properties, the real estate investment trust formed to take control of the real estate owned by Sears and sister company Kmart, the 20 stores affected in this round of closing will be shuttered in October. Other locations include Sarasota, Florida; San Diego; Toledo, Ohio, and Houston, Texas.

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The 20 closing stores account for a combined 3.8 million square feet of space, with Sears Holdings Co. paying Seritage  $11.2 million in base rent.

Lormax Stern purchased a closed Kmart in Bloomfield Hills, and leased the building to At Home. Brochert described that transition as “extremely successful.”

  “At Home’s merchandise has kept up with the times and their building is beautiful, which will complement the recent renovation of the Macomb Mall,” Brochert said. “The addition of At Home to the Macomb Mall will bring far more traffic to the property.”

Seritage’s online listings says it has 163,250 square feet available for lease in the Macomb Mall Sears property, with an additional 31,430 square feet in the auto center.

“We have also heard there are talks about another retailer taking the balance of the Sears building and look forward to the new tenant,” Brochert said.

In early May, there were 18 Sears stores in Michigan and 28 Kmart stores. Sears and Kmart have closed at least 150 stores across the U.S. in 2017, along with 92 in-store pharmacies and 50 auto centers. The only other Sears to face closure this year was at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids.

According to Business Insider, Sears now has 1,180 stores, down from 2,073 five years ago.

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