Owner store

Former Sears store in South Park Mall may have new tenants

New businesses may soon fill a cavernous old Sears store and auto center in South Park Mall.

SP Hwy 35 Investment LLC, a group of investors in the Houston area, purchased about 18.3 acres from the owners of the mall in early December, according to deeds and documents filed by state companies. The deal included two spaces that had been occupied by the retailer.

The approximately 150,599 square foot Sears store, a key tenant in the South Side Mall, closed last year. It is not known when the auto center, which was in a separate building outside the mall, closed.

A representative of the owners of the mall – Namdar Realty Group, Mason Asset Management and CH Capital Group – said the buyer plans to divide the space between a gym and a family entertainment center.

SP Hwy 35 has a rental agreement with gym chain Fitness Connection, according to county records.

Construction to convert the store into two tenant spaces is slated to begin this month and end in February, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

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

Another former Sears store, at the Park North Mall on the north side, was also filled with new tenants. Gym chains Tru Fit, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Buy Buy Baby opened stores in the space after Sears closed in 2018.

Sears’ presence in San Antonio ended last year with the closure of its last local store, at the Rolling Oaks Mall.

Still, the region’s largest malls and malls are largely full, with about 93.6% of retail space occupied by mid-year, according to a report by Dallas-based Weitzman. .

This is unchanged from the second half of 2020, down slightly from 94% in the first half of 2020 and less than 94.5% at the end of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

E. Redevelopment of the side warehouse

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

Thirty-five actual work units will occupy approximately 87,000 square feet in the 105,654 square foot warehouse located at 215 Coca-Cola Place, near the AT&T center.

Owner Value Creation Strategies plans to market approximately 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 transforming a former meat-packing plant nearby into working lofts, Gene and Betty Braden purchased the Handy Andy warehouse.

They planned to convert it into “white box” shells that buyers would finish up for living condominiums and fill the rest of the space with restaurants or shops. Council members approved $ 220,000 for the first phase of the project.

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

Value Creation Strategies, an Austin investment firm already familiar with the development, purchased the warehouse early in the year and retained the Bradens as a general contractor.

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

“You have an environment around this arena which is sterile,” he said. “You have all these people attending arena events. This is an opportunity that is largely missed by a majority of food and beverage operators and other developments that may be underway. “

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

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