Vacant Sears at Colonie Center gets step up in status – The Daily Gazette

Turns out the long-vacant Sears space at Colonie Center isn’t so “non-core” after all.

Owner Seritage Growth Properties now categorizes the 154,500 square feet of available former Sears space as “multi-tenant retail” – an apparent step up in status, since non-core holdings are deemed disposable “in order to fund development and deploy capital more strategically” for the rest of the company, as explained by Manhattan-based Seritage in its 2021 annual report filed in March.

The Sears space had been in the non-core group for over a year since Seritage named a new CEO in early 2021 who set about organizing the portfolio of more than 160 properties nationwide by end use: multi-tenant retail, premier mixed-use, residential, joint venture retail, and the non-core disposables.

Seritage was created as a publicly-traded real estate investment trust in 2015 as a way to help Sears and Kmart stay afloat by buying up and then leasing back the retailers’ stores. Today, none of those old leases remain, and Seritage just shifted its corporate structure from a REIT to what’s known as a C corporation, as many companies are organized for tax purposes.

The two-story Sears store in Colonie Center – an original anchor at the mall – closed five years ago, although before that Whole Foods settled into a big chunk of first-floor space as part of a plan to both aid Sears and expand the grocer’s US footprint.

Last month, in a first-quarter financial supplement filed with regulators, Seritage’s list of non-core properties no longer showed the Colonie Center Sears space and a nearby redeveloped out parcel, which had been a Sears auto center.

Asked whether that meant Seritage succeeded in selling off the site, a spokeswoman told me “it was reclassified” from non-core to multi-tenant retail. The latter group includes 40 properties in 20 states, according to the Seritage filing.

She did not answer e-mailed follow-up questions, other than to say that Seritage is “actively leasing the Colonie Center property.”

A representative for the leasing agent for the bulk of the mall – the Sears and Macy’s anchor buildings separately are owned – did not respond to a request for comment on what kinds of tenants in the Sears space would those already complement in the mall.

The Seritage space at Colonie Center totals 21 acres, much of it parking, according to a site plan on the company’s website. A schematic shows 61,000 square feet available on the first floor of the former Sears store, drawn into four possible leasable spaces next to Whole Foods.

On the second floor, more than 93,000 square feet are available. A sliver of space also can still be leased in the former auto center, near Ethan Allen’s home furnishings store.

The schematic also shows a new potential out parcel of 3,100 square feet close to Wolf Road, marked “entitlement pending” and drawn to suggest drive-thru capabilities.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at [email protected].

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