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Former Sears store at South Park Mall may get new tenants – McKenzielee Blog
March 25, 2023

McKenzielee Blog

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Former Sears store at South Park Mall may get new tenants

3 min read

New businesses soon could fill a cavernous former Sears store and auto center at South Park Mall.

SP Hwy 35 Investment LLC, a group of Houston-area investors, bought roughly 18.3 acres from the mall’s owners in early December, according to deed records and state corporate filings. The deal included two spaces that had been occupied by the retailer.

The roughly 150,599-square-foot Sears store, an anchor tenant at the South Side mall, closed last year. It’s unclear when the auto center, which was in a separate building outside the mall, shut its doors.

A representative for the mall’s owners — Namdar Realty Group, Mason Asset Management and CH Capital Group — said the buyer plans to split the space between a gym and a family entertainment center.

SP Hwy 35 has a lease agreement with gym chain Fitness Connection, county records show.

Construction to convert the store into two tenant spaces is expected to start this month and wrap up in February, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

The buyer wants to put an Ojos Locos Sports Cantina location in the former auto center, the mall representative said. SP Hwy 35 Investment LLC declined to comment on its plans.

Another former Sears store, at Park North Shopping Center on the North Side, also has been filled with new tenants. Gym chain Tru Fit, Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby opened locations in the space after Sears closed in 2018.

Sears’ presence in San Antonio ended last year when it closed its last local store, at Rolling Oaks Mall.

Yet the area’s biggest malls and shopping centers are largely full, with about 93.6 percent of retail space occupied at midyear, according to a report by Dallas-based Weitzman.

That’s unchanged from the second half of 2020, down slightly from 94 percent in the first half of 2020 and below 94.5 percent at the end of 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

E. Side warehouse redevelopment

City Council recently approved $1.5 million for public improvements at a former Handy Andy distribution center that’s being converted to a mixed-use development.

Thirty-five live-work units will occupy about 87,000 square feet at the 105,654-square-foot warehouse at 215 Coca-Cola Place near the AT&T Center.

Owner Value Creation Strategies plans to market about 42,000 square feet inside the building and 20,000 square feet on the roof to office, restaurant and retail tenants.

The project started in 2017. After turning a former meatpacking plant nearby into live-work lofts, Gene and Betty Braden bought the Handy Andy warehouse.

They planned to convert it to “white box” shells that buyers would finish out for live-work condominiums, and fill the rest of the space with restaurants or stores. Council members approved $220,000 for the project’s first phase.

Construction was underway and the couple applied for a loan to finish it, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit and their lender withdrew from the deal, they said.

Value Creation Strategies, an Austin-based investment firm already familiar with the development, purchased the warehouse early this year and kept the Bradens on as the general contractor.

The firm made some changes to the plans, including renting instead of selling the units, Rich Gottbrath, chief investment officer, said in April.

“You’ve got an environment around that arena that is barren,” he said. “You have all these people who attend events at the arena. That’s an opportunity that’s being largely missed by a majority of food and beverage operators and other development that could be going in.”

The project is expected to cost $18.4 million. The $1.5 million from the city will be used to reimburse the firm for landscaping, fencing, sidewalks, curbs and other improvements as part of the second phase, which is expected to be finished in December 2022.



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