Owner speaks on future of Sears building

Sears Department Store, Photo Date: 12/16/17 / Photo: JJBers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0  / (MGN)
Sears Department Store, Photo Date: 12/16/17 / Photo: JJBers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 / (MGN)
Published: Nov. 8, 2019 at 10:34 PM EST
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The end of an era is here in mid-Michigan retail after the announcement was made that the Frandor Sears is closing. And even though that iconic store is leaving, new plans for that prime real estate are already in the works.

After decades at the Frandor Shopping Center, Sears is turning off the lights and clearing off the shelves after the holiday season.

"I guess I wasn't shocked, but we were surprised. We talked to them as recently as three weeks ago. They didn't say anything about that," Pat Gillespie, Gillespie Group president, said.

Gillespie owns the 14-acre property on the 3100 block of Michigan Avenue. He says consumers are finding new ways to shop and some retailers are struggling to survive in today's economy.

"You hate to see history go and Sears was a big part of it. It's been there since 1954. You know there's some nostalgia, but the world is changing dramatically with the internet and with, you know, retailers keeping up with the times, and I'm not sure Sears did that," Gillespie said.

The building's owner is telling News 10, Sears still has 10 years left on the lease so the future of the space is unknown.

"They could still, you know, stick it around and pay rent and keep it vacant. They could decide to sublease it to other people, you know other retailers, so we've reached out to them last night and again this morning. We haven't heard back," Gillespie said.

Although it's too early to know what will happen next, Gillespie said it's a promising prime piece of real estate that shouldn't stay idle.

"What we do know is that that facility is in one heck of a location. Right near, you know, a Big Ten university, on a highway, on Michigan Avenue, you know across the street from some major development happening. We've had multiple phone calls from people that have called to ask about wanting to be in that site," Gillespie said.

Sears in Frandor is expected to close for good in February and liquidation sales will begin Dec. 2.

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