Giant Former Sears Store In Chicago To Become Apartments And Maybe A Liquor Store

Image courtesy of Richie Diesterheft

Last year, the oldest operating Sears store, a now-windowless tan brick behemoth in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood closed. The local commercial real estate market had the same problem as Sears itself: what could be done with an enormous retail building that the marketplace no longer needs? A developer came forward with a plan to redevelop the currently dormant space into apartments and maybe a liquor store.

The developer, local Springbank Capital Advisors, paid Sears $10 million for the building and plans to spend $20 million transforming it into 50 apartments, with 80 parking spaces and a supermarket or other large store occupying the ground floor.

Binny’s Beverage Depot, a regional chain that sells beer, wine, and liquor, has agreed to lease the first floor pending approval from a nearby elementary school, since the store falls within 100 feet of the school. The neighborhood would also need to approve of the store.

The developer’s chairman and chief executive said that the building was an appealing development candidate because of its history and its location near transit. The cool old wooden escalators were apparently not a selling point.

The store’s twin in another part of the city that opened on the same day in 1925 is still on the market.

Store History – Chicago: Lawrence and 79th Street Stores