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Sears Crosstown For Sale

Sears Crosstown on the block

1/22/07 Memphis Business Journal - 2:06 PM CST Friday by John Scruggs Staff writer

Sears Crosstown, the aging Art Deco dinosaur on Watkins, has been dropped on the market for sale at an undisclosed price.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, a New York-based commercial real estate and capital market services company, has the 1.4 million-square-foot property listed for sale.

The Sears Crosstown building, vacant since Sears Roebuck & Co. vacated its regional headquarters in 1993, sits on a 20-acre parcel just northeast of Downtown.

Megan Thompson, associate director with Holliday Fenoglio Fowler in its Atlanta office, said the property owner decided it was the right time to sell because of market conditions.

"Cap rates are pretty low and Downtown Memphis is really starting to make the turn for development there," she said. "We put the property on the market Monday."

The successful developments of Sears catalog facilities around the U.S. serve as models for what could happen in Memphis, Thompson said.

Starbucks Center, the world headquarters for Starbucks in Seattle, Wa., is a recent example of an adaptive reuse of a vacant Sears catalog facility.

The Southside on Lamar in Dallas is a redevelopment of a Sears facility and both Boston and Atlanta have seen successful mixed-use projects in buildings similar to Memphis' Sears Crosstown property.

"With existing examples of this around the country, hopefully people will be able to get their arms around this (Sears Crosstown) a little better," Thompson says. "Sears and its catalog distribution centers are a part of the history of American retail and with it being such a large property, a reuse project there could make a real difference for the neighborhood."