Regency Square’s owner on Sears closing in September: ‘It’s a positive step’ | Local

The Sears store at Regency Square mall is closing in early September, leaving a gaping hole in the western Henrico County mall that is scheduled to undergo a $30 million-plus redevelopment.

The mall’s owners are not worried, though.

Sears owns the 152,000-square-foot Sears building, which is on 12-acre parcel that it owns.

“Redevelopment of the Sears parcel has always been on our wish list,” said Rob Hargett, a principal with Chesterfield County-based The Rebkee Co., which bought Regency Square with Thalhimer Realty Partners in February 2015.

“In order for that to happen, the Sears store has to close. We have not put the property under contract or anything like that. But certainly it is the first step. It’s a positive step. Sears hasn’t been the strongest retailer as of late,” Hargett said.

The Sears at Regency Square mall is one of 16 Sears and 49 Kmart stores the retailer is closing, according to a report from publication Business Insider.

Those stores are in addition to 150 stores – 108 Kmarts and 42 Sears – the company in January announced it was shuttering. Those stores have closed.

“We can confirm that we are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close this Sears store,” a Sears spokesman said of the Regency Square mall Sears store.

“The store will close to the public in early September. Until then, the store will remain open for customers. The store will begin its liquidation sale on June 16,” the Sears spokesman said.

Sears stores remain at Chesterfield Towne Center, Virginia Center Commons and Southpark Mall. A Sears outlet store on Tomlyn Street and a Kmart store on Nine Mile Road in eastern Henrico County are remaining open.

“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced,” the Sears spokesman said.

The company did not make available the number of employees affected by the closing but did say the employees will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open jobs at other area Sears and Kmart stores.

Plans to redevelop Regency Square mall call for improving visibility and access by reworking the roadways around the mall, removing a parking deck and adding tenants, such as a Regal Cinemas and a trampoline business, establishments focused more on experiences than selling products. A Starbucks coffee shop is also planned, in addition to restaurants.

The developers long term envision a mixed-use complex, with retail, office space and housing.

Regency Square – like other malls around the country – has seen a drop off in customers in recent years as struggling retailers have closed stores. Two Macy’s stores at the mall closed in March 2016.

The Sears closing “at least gives some clarity to the piece of the mall, or starts to, that we don’t own,” Hargett said. “In a redevelopment any kind of move forward is good movement.”

According to Henrico County property assessment records, the 12-acre Sears parcel is assessed at approximately $4.4 million. The mall opened in 1975.

Anchor tenant J.C. Penney also owns its parcel at Regency Square.

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