Sears leaving Regency Square; mall owner lays in wait

regency Square Mall-aerial

Sears is leaving Regency Square Mall, which is reconfiguring parts of the property. (Kieran McQuilkin)

Another wing of a West End mall may be in play for redevelopment.

Sears is in the process of closing its store in Regency Square, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Howard Riefs, spokesman for Sears Holdings Corp., said its retail store and auto center at the mall will close by early September. The store will begin its liquidation sale June 16.

The closure would leave empty an important anchor property of the larger mall site, which is in the early stages of a reinvention by local real estate firms Thalhimer Realty Partners and Rebkee Co. The Sears building most recently was assessed by Henrico County at $4.4 million.

Neither Riefs nor Thalhimer Realty’s Mark Slusher would comment on whether the ownership group is in talks with Sears to acquire the 152,000-square-foot building. The retailer owns its building at Regency.

Slusher said the group may be open to buying the site if the right opportunity were available.

“Any property that would become available, we would be interested in it,” he said.

Thalhimer and Rebkee Co. purchased Regency Square in February 2015 for $13.1 million – becoming majority owner of the mall. The group’s purchase is about 450,000 square feet of the mall’s 820,000-square-foot space, which at the time did not include the buildings occupied by Sears and J.C. Penney.

Since taking over the 40-year-old space, the group has launched a $35 million redevelopment plan, which includes a pending deal with Regal Cinemas for a two-story, 50,000-square-foot multiplex in the former Macy’s South building fronting Holly Hill Road.

Work this summer will reconfigure entry to the mall from Quioccasin Road(BizSense file photo)

Work this summer will reconfigure entry to the mall from Quioccasin Road(BizSense file photo)

Macy’s was another of the mall’s anchors that pulled out, shutting its two Regency stores last year.

Also slated to open in the revamped Regency is indoor trampoline park Jumpology, which would fill the third level of the vacant, 41,000-square-foot Macy’s North building fronting Quioccasin Road.

The second level of Macy’s North will be subdivided into retail spaces between 2,066 and 8,246 square feet.

Construction of a 7,500-square-foot outparcel retail strip for Seattle-based MOD Pizza, Sprint and Chipotle also is planned, along with the transformation of a former Bank of America branch into a Starbucks; and façade improvements to much of the existing mall.

Work is set begin this summer to reconfigure entry to the mall from Quioccasin Road, which would demolish the existing flyover and create a four-way signalized intersection with the neighboring Walmart-anchored Parham Plaza Shopping Center.

Sears Holdings is the parent company of Sears and Kmart. The retailer, which has struggled for years to maintain its national physical footprint, announced plans to close 16 Sears stores and 49 Kmart locations, Riefs said. The list of effected stores was first reported by Business Insider.

Sears would not disclose how many employees would be affected by the Regency closure. Riefs said eligible workers would receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears and Kmart stores.

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