Sears sold at Richardson Square, but it won’t close … yet

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Sears sold at Richardson Square, but it won’t close … yet

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Sears at Richardson Square is among a group of stores that Sears is selling this year trying to raise $1 billion. The Sears location, the last piece of the old mall, has been sold to Dallas-based real estate developer ATRCorinth.

The 128,000-square-foot store isn’t closing. Sears has a short-term lease on it, and the property will likely be redeveloped in a couple of years, said Dallas developer Frank Mihalopoulos.

There are lots of future prospects for the property which is on the southeast corner of Belt Line and Plano Roads, he said. "It’s good real estate and in the heart of Richardson."

The Richardson Square stores is one of three Sears stores purchased by ATRCorinth, a firm controlled Mihalopoulos and Anthony Ruggeri.

The two other Sears stores are in older malls that Mihalopoulos and Ruggeri purchased early last year and are in the process of redeveloping: Northlake Mall in Atlanta and Forest Mall in Fond du Lac, Wisc. The Atlanta Sears store is still open. The Wisconsin location has been closed.

Store closings by longtime mall tenants such as The Limited, Rue 21, Payless, RadioShack, Finish Line and Aeropostale this year have emptied out some space faster than anticipated, Mihalopoulos said, but he still sees value in redeveloping older malls with grocery stores, for example, and using the sites to build apartments or office space.

Anchor store closings by Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s are also accelerating mall vacancies.

Sears Holding Corp. hired Eastdil Secured in February to market and sell at least $1 billion of real estate. That decision was separate from the 150 Kmart and Sears stores that Sears said it planned to close this year.

Analysts have questioned how much longer Sears will be around. The company has been selling major assets and last week said it would stop selling Whirlpool brands including Maytag, Kitchen Aid and Jenn-Air.

While Sears has been shrinking for years and closed its store at Valley View Mall this summer as part of the north Dallas property’s redevelopment, it still has a dozen stores in North Texas.

Sears’ newest store opened in 2000 at Frisco’s Stonebriar Centre, but most Sears stores are in the area’s older regional malls that were built in the 1970s and 1980s: Southwest Center Mall in Dallas, Town East Mall in Mesquite, Irving Mall, Collin Creek Mall in Richardson, Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville, The Parks at Arlington, North East Mall in Hurst, Golden Triangle Mall in Denton and two malls in Fort Worth, Hulen Mall and Ridgmar Mall.

Richardson Square used to be a mall, but the Sears store is the last piece of it. It was one of the first malls in North Texas to be renovated with the common areas gone and individual big box stores in its place. It even had a Montgomery Ward’s store that was later turned into a SuperTarget in 2005. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s and Ross Dress for Less are the other two major tenants at Richardson Square.

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