The closed Sears stores in Regency and Orange Park malls are being marketed for redevelopment.
Transformco Properties, based in a Chicago suburb, is listing the former department stores and land for lease, sale and development.
The company is marketing many of its other properties nationwide.
Transformco declined comment about specifics of the Jacksonville and Orange Park Sears stores, but its mission and website indicate its efforts.
Its goal “is reimagining the retail space to better meet the needs of the current marketplace and maximize the value of the Transformco real estate portfolio.”
“We are transforming existing retail spaces into dynamic new venues offering shopping, entertainment, commercial and mixed-use experiences that attract a broad range of consumers,” it says on transformcoproperties.com.
“We are creating opportunities that take advantage of our prime locations to drive foot traffic and benefit the surrounding communities.”
The Regency and Orange Park Sears stores are not part of the malls’ ownership.
Transformco says it is a privately held company with five core businesses: A real estate portfolio of 59.8 million square feet; Sears Home Services, a product repair provider; the Shop Your Way loyalty and credit program; Transform Brands, home of Kenmore and DieHard; and Sears and Kmart full-line stores, specialty stores and online operations.
Sears Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 15, 2018.
Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert won the bid to buy the Sears Holding Corp. assets. Through Transform Dove Holdco LLC, he bought the Regency and Orange Park Sears stores Feb. 11, 2019.
He paid $4.1 million for the Regency store, which closed in 2016, and $7.7 million for the Orange Park location, which was operating at the time and closed in 2020.
Sears closed the store it leased at The Avenues mall in 2019.
Those were the only three department stores that Sears operated in Northeast Florida.
The Shopping Center Group Partner and Executive Vice President Stephanie McCullough and Senior Vice President Kelly Pulignano are the Jacksonville representatives.
TSCG had no comment other than to confirm it represents Transformco.
Through TF Jacksonville FL LLC, Lampert bought the almost 200,000-square-foot Regency store at 9501 Arlington Expressway.
The TSCG brochure says the 18.38-acre property comprises the two-story former Sears department store totaling 133,542 square feet and the adjacent Sears Auto building, about 15,688 square feet.
It was built in 1981 at the western end of Regency Square Mall.
The brochure says the Sears property spans more than 344 feet of frontage along the Arlington Expressway.
It is adjacent to the 1.39 million-square-foot Regency Square Mall, which is largely vacant. Developers have attempted to buy and redevelop parts of the mall.
Impact Church bought and operates at the former Belk store in the center of the mall.
The TSCG brochure calls the mall part of Jacksonville’s first regional retail submarket. Regency Square Mall opened in 1967 and was expanded since.
It is 6 miles east of Downtown.
Orange Park Sears
TF Orange Pk LLC bought the Orange Park Mall Sears site at 1910 Wells Road.
That property is more than 200,000 square feet.
The TSCG brochure says the property, on 17.74 acres, comprises the two-story, 186,331-square-foot Sears store and free-standing 33,486-square-foot Auto building.
It was built in 1975 to anchor the western side of the mall.
The store is at Blanding Boulevard and Wells Road next to the 950,000-square-foot Orange ark Mall.
The Sears property offers more than 1,000 feet of frontage along Blanding Boulevard.
The site is south of Interstate 295 and within 3 miles of Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
‘Reinvention of retail real estate’
Transformco Properties says its efforts are “part of our commitment to capture the momentum and possibility being created by the reinvention of retail real estate.”
“Because at Transformco Properties, we believe that by constantly challenging the status quo, we can foster ongoing growth and improvement. Ultimately allowing us to continue to make positive changes for communities while positioning Transformco for success now and well into the future.”
There are initial indications of what might be considered for the Regency store.
The St. Johns River Water Management District received a pre-application May 4 for renovation of the former Regency Square Mall Sears store.
Civil engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. is the applicant for the “Regency Square Mall Sears Renovation.”
No plans are attached.
Separately, a JEA service availability request sheds some light on what landowners might be probing for how to use the site.
Kimley-Horn submitted that application April 21 to see what utility services are available for the “Regency Square Mall Sears Redevelopment.”
That summary calls it:
“The reuse of existing Sears Department Building and development of two outparcels. 150,000 SF Warehouse Building, 38,0000 Industrial Building and 36,000 SF Retail Building.”
The size of the industrial building appears to be a typo because a 38,000-square-foot building would fit within the property as described.
No developers are identifed.
JEA says service availability letters help customers and developers determine whether JEA is the correct utility provider for their home or business and will include potential points of connection to the system.
Offices and apartments
One example of a re-use is in Florida.
In January, Transformco announced that it will permanently close the Sears store at 901 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.
It said it sold the land site adjacent to the store to RK Centers.
RK Centers calls it the RK Searstown Plaza and plans office towers and apartments.
Transformco said its “go-forward store strategy” for Sears and Kmart is to operate a diversified portfolio consisting of a small number of larger, premier stores with a larger number of small-format stores – combined with its Shop Your Way rewards program, online marketplace and buy online, pick up in-store capabilities.
In January 2021, Transformco Properties announced it completed the sale/assignment of five Kmart store leases in California, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina and Wyoming to Target Corp.
“Transformco continues to pursue opportunities to create value from its real estate portfolio and to partner with retailers, property owners and communities as part of the ongoing reinvention of retail real estate,” said Scott Carr, president of Transformco Properties.
In January, Brean Capital LLC, an investment banking firm specializing in institutional capital raising and advisory services, announced the closing of $75 million of senior secured notes by Transform Lease Opco LLC, a newly formed operating subsidiary of Transform Holdco LLC, the parent entity and owner of the former assets of Sears and Kmart.
A news release said proceeds will be used to provide growth capital for the repositioning and releasing of the company’s portfolio of leased real estate assets.
“This unique transaction is another example of our progress in successfully monetizing the value of our real estate portfolio,” Carr said.