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Agreement reached on acquisition of Sears

(Jan 23, 2012)

The Westminster Economic Development Authority (WEDA) tonight authorized City Manager Brent McFall to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with Sears Development Company to acquire the 7.9-acre property at 5501 W. 88th Ave. at the site of the former Westminster Mall. WEDA will purchase the property for $4.2 million with finalization of the sale anticipated to happen on February 29. Sears will remain on the property until the end of June, at which time the store and auto center will be demolished in anticipation of the redevelopment of the 105-acre site.

“We are very pleased to have arrived at this mutual agreement for the acquisition of this property. At the same time we are sorry to see Sears leave our city as they have been valuable and contributing members to our community,” said Mayor Nancy McNally. “This purchase is an important piece in the assemblage of ownerships that is paving the way to a redevelopment of the site.”

The city was hopeful that Sears would continue to thrive and be a part of the redeveloped property, and has been in contact with Sears throughout the redevelopment process. In late 2011 those conversations began to include the possibility of purchase of the Sears property.

Following Sears' recent announcement of the closing of 120 stores across the country (including three in Colorado), the city moved quickly to finalize a mutually acceptable agreement. The strategy here is that it is preferable to have the Sears property owned by the city and included in redevelopment plans rather than redeveloping around the store, and then having Sears close the store at a future date.

WEDA acquired most of the 105-acre site in May of last year with the intent of conveying the property to a developer to create an urban center in accordance with the city’s wishes for redevelopment.

“The city’s vision for the site is one of densities that could be three times that of the former mall,” said McFall. “That would mean verticality – in other words – a skyline for Westminster. The uses would be mixed and include retail, office and residential.”

The 105-acre site has attracted national development interest due to its strategic location between Denver and Boulder and its double transit potential – U.S. 36 bus rapid transit and the northwest line of RTD’s FasTracks project.

The remaining businesses at the former mall - JC Penney, Olive Garden, Brunswick Zone, U.S. Bank and Dr. Lamont McMurtrey, DDS are all open and plan to stay open for the foreseeable future.

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