HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – The Sears store at Memorial City Mall was demolished Tuesday, a demonstration of national trend as old-generation mall anchors are replaced with the modern.
Sears was Memorial City Mall’s original anchor, opening in 1966 in the West Houston shopping center along the Katy Freeway.
This Sears closed in late 2018, part of the collapse of a retail giant that once had over 1,000 stores and a 110-story headquarters building in Chicago. Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 in 2018 and it now has less than 100 stores.
As the claw of an excavator finished its destructive task, the owner of the 1.7 million SF retail center said in a press release that he is “excited” about redeveloping Memorial City.
“Today is an exciting day for us, as the demolition of Sears is the first visible step to creating a new chapter for Memorial City and further evidence that our company is well-positioned today and for the future,” said Jason Johnson, president of MetroNational, the Houston-based real estate investment, development and management company that owns and operates Memorial City.
MetroNational is not alone. The nation’s malls – including the many enclosed regional malls that were once triple-anchored by Sears, J.C. Penney and a Macy’s, Dillard’s or Foley’s, etc., – are reinventing themselves.
The Retail Armageddon
Amazon has been talking to shopping mall superpower Simon Property Group about placing large Amazon fulfillment centers in vacant anchor store space in malls, according to the Wall Street Journal.
With retailers like J.C. Penney and Sears going dark, there’s vacancy galore in many malls. It’s not just anchors. With the pandemic raging, scads of in-line stores and mall restaurants are shuttering their doors, too.
E-commerce retailing and bricks-and-sticks retail stores have been moving toward a bloody battle for years. Covid-19 turned up the heat, raised the stakes, and accelerated the pace to a showdown that has been called “The Retail Armageddon.”
But as the 1960s-vintage retail properties fade, there is opportunity for planners and developers to create anew on sites that are typically well located in various burbs, villages and urban locales.
In Midtown Houston, a freestanding art-deco Sears store built in 1939 is being redeveloped into The Ion innovation hub.
At Memorial City, the removal of the old Sears husk opens space for what MetroNational describes as “the creation of a visionary outdoor lifestyle/retail district. The 20-acre parcel is a key aspect of the long-term master plan for the 300-acre Memorial City campus that includes reimagining and redesigning the area to add new mixed-use and lifestyle options, along with improved walkability.”
Fort-Worth based Trademark Property Company, has been working with MetroNational on the redevelopment of Memorial City Mall.
Gensler and Stantec are leading design efforts for the project.
Trademark has also worked on Rice Village, Market Street – The Woodlands, South Victory and Galleria Dallas in Dallas, WestBend and Waterside in Fort Worth, La Palmera in Corpus Christi, Annapolis Towne Centre in Annapolis, Maryland, First Street Napa in Napa, California, and Saddle Creek in Germantown, Tenn.
The Memorial City is a mixed-use development with almost 10 million SF, including Class A office space; retail space, residential units, the Westin Memorial City and Hotel ZaZa Memorial City; and the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center.
Worthy of note: Sears, Roebuck and Co., was founded in Chicago by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in 1893.
Aug. 12. 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020
Photo: Via MetroNational
File: Sears Demolished in Memorial City