REAL ESTATE

A Sears closes and a new idea takes shape at a Massachusetts mall

BY Al Urbanski

The day after the Sears closed at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, the owners hired Cushman and Wakefield to open a new chapter for the 87-acre property that was the town’s first enclosed mall when it opened in 1967.

What Cushman and owner Mountain Development have in mind for Eastfield is a mixed-use renovation blending retail with residential in a “main street” lifestyle center setting. It’s become a common scenario in an over-malled retail industry struggling to find its place in 21st Century America.

“This is truly a distinctive opportunity given the many factors that support a successful repurposing,” said Cushman’s Brian Whitmer.

Mountain Development bought the 777,000-sq.-ft. mall in 2013 for $3.5 million and purchased the J.C. Penney and Macy’s buildings on the property after those stores closed. Three-quarters Eastfield remains rented to tenants that include Cinemark, Old Navy, Hannoush Jewelers, Ninety-Nine Restaurant & Pub, and a flea market.

The Jersey-based developer intends to hold on to Eastfield, but is looking for a partner in the redevelopment.

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