Jul 2, 2013 11:37 AM by Josh Kegley
Sears at the Fayette Mall has been a familiar sight on Nicholasville Road for more than 40 years, but that's about to change.
The department store will close around the end of the year, and its space will be redeveloped to accommodate several new stores.
Sears was one of several anchor stores at the Fayette Mall that owned its own property. CBL Associates and Properties, the company that owns the mall, bought the Sears property last week.
CBL spokeswoman Katie Reinsmidt said she couldn't say exactly what stores will replace Sears because the leases are not finalized.
They will be "high-end shops" that are "not in the Lexington market today," she said.
Once the retail stores are up and running, CBL might add more exterior restaurants to the mall as well, Reinsmidt said. The Sears Auto Center will be demolished to make more parking.
Howard Reif, a spokesman for the company that owns Sears and Kmart stores, said in an e-mail the decision to close was based on "a variety of reasons."
"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model," he said, adding that the company was focusing on "integrated retail" - in stores, online and at home.
The store and auto center will continue to operate for several months. The closure is expected to come at the end of the year.
Sears employs 144 people in the department store and 17 in the auto center. Those employees "will have an opportunity" to apply for positions at other Sears and Kmart stores, Reif said.
Reinsmidt declined to say how much CBL paid for the property. The Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator valued the property at more than $9 million.
Sears purchased the land in 1970, and the store was built the following year.
CBL is a Tennessee-based retail store developer that owns properties in 31 states and owns or manages 96 regional malls.