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This is what may happen to Sears space at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh

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By   – Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal

The owners of Crabtree Valley Mall bought the neighboring Sears building last April for $19.5 million anticipating that the struggling retailer would eventually shutter the 168,000-square-foot store.

With the announcement Wednesday that Sears is closing the Crabtree location, along with 45 other stores nationwide, that bet appears to be paying off.

A spokesman for CVM Holdings, the mall ownership group, says the company is now planning a new vision for the space. “Crabtree Valley Mall will redevelop this area to create an exciting new environment benefitting consumers throughout the Triangle and beyond,” mall spokesman Brian Asbill said in a statement.

Mall owners are providing few details at this point on what that might look like, but any redevelopment of the Sears space will likely be more focused on leveraging the location than the actual building shell, retail brokers say.

Since it opened in 1994, the Sears has served as an anchor for the mall, drawing customers from the busy Creedmoor Road-Glenwood Avenue intersection and maintaining the mall’s standing as a popular place to dine and shop even as other malls in the Triangle have struggled.

That same pull will likely be key in the redevelopment of the Sears space. “I think the value to retailers lies much more with the location to the property and the potential for redevelopment than in the building itself,” says Jeff Nimmer, senior leasing advisor at the Shopping Center Group. That could mean tearing down the existing building rather than repurposing it, he says.

Of course, this will not be the first time for mall developers to pivot and blueprint a new expansion plan for the largely landlocked mall. Some 13 years ago, mall management embarked on a massive expansion plan that gave us the outside restaurants and stores.

Any redevelopment of the property would likely mean incorporating new uses on the site. As traditional retail operations and big box stores in particular continue to struggle to compete with online retailers, malls of the future will have to look more to providing customers with in-store experiences, rather than just offering items to buy, says Jon Stanley, vice president of retail services at JLL. In the case of the Sears property, that could mean looking to uses outside of traditional retail shops.

“Owners will need to think outside the box and look to integrate a variety of mixed-uses such as health clubs, urgent-care clinics, entertainment and up-scale restaurants, which play into the experiential trend,” Stanley writes of the Sears property in an email. He also includes office and multifamily development as some of the uses that could be considered.

Any transformation at Crabtree Valley Mall would add to the list of large shopping center undergoing significant transitions in the Triangle. The Cary Towne Center is currently at a crossroads as mall owner CBL & Associates Properties evaluates what to do in the wake of Ikea’s decision to forgo opening at the mall.

The Crabtree building is one of several properties that the company has sold in the Triangle, including the Sears at Northgate Mall in Durham. Northwood Investors, of Denver, acquired the property for $6.5 million.

The Crabtree location is scheduled to close in November, while the Sears Auto Center will close in September, Asbill writes.


Original post appeared here.

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