REAL ESTATE

Sears selling 16 stores online

BY CSA Staff

Embattled Sears Holdings Corp. is putting 16 of its namesake stores on the online auction block.

Cushman & Wakefield is teaming up with online bidding site Real Insight Marketplace to sell the assets, which are primarily attached to malls in suburban locations, CNBC reported. The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said the stores are being marketed as sale and lease-back deals.

Some 200 investor groups have expressed interest in bidding on the properties, according CNBC, with bids due by May 1.

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Whole Foods Market is set to open at Butler Town Center

BY Al Urbanski

Butler Town Center, the upscale mixed-use addition to the Butler retail mega-plex in Gainesville, Florida, that’s been three years in the making, is about to welcome shoppers.

First to open its doors on May 9 will be Whole Foods Market, a brand that has little presence in north central Florida and is a first-to-market in Gainesville.

“We have created this location specifically for the lifestyle of the Gainesville community. We know our new customers will love the convenient dining, easy shopping and comfortable surroundings we’ve designed just for them,” said Juan Nunez, president of Whole Foods Market’s Florida region.

The 40,000-sq.-ft. supermarket will anchor the western end of “Main Street” in Butler Town Center, a 450,000-sq.-ft. project that includes two luxury apartment developments, an entertainment and restaurant hub, and a chef-curated food hall.

Considering that Whole Foods made its mark in college towns in the Nineties, its debut in Gainesville (home to the University of Florida and its 50,000 students) appears long overdue.

“As a first in north central Florida, Whole Foods Market exemplifies the exciting impact that Butler Town Center will make in this super-regional market,” said Butler Enterprises president Deborah Butler. “With a top 10 university, the best small college in the country, and 11 nationally ranked hospitals, Gainesville has demand for the experiential shopping and dining atmosphere that Butler Town Center will fulfill.”

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HomeGoods, Five Below to open at Magnolia Mall

BY Al Urbanski

Hot, value-price retailers continue to fill mall space vacated by shut-down department stores.

PREIT announced this week’s opening of an 8,500-sq.-ft. Five Below at its Magnolila Mall in Florence, South Carolina, to be followed next month with the debut of a 20,000-sq.-ft. Home Goods.

“These in-demand retailers bring new uses to the community and improve the diversity and quality of our portfolio tenant base,” said PREIT CEO Joseph Coradino.

While Sears exited Magnolia, Belk signed a 10-year lease renewal that includes a store remodel. Also opening at the mall later this year will be H&M.

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