Sears Visalia location via Google Earth
Written by John Lindt
Central Valley shopping center developer David Paynter confirmed recently that his company has purchased the Sears building at Visalia’s Sequoia Mall, which he owns.
In a statement, Paynter wrote “An Affiliate of Paynter Realty & Investments Inc., Caldwell Mooney Partners I, L.P. a California limited partnership, purchased the property occupied by Sears from Seritage Growth Properties in a transaction that recorded December 27.”
Paynter’s acquisition of the 75,570 square-foot Sears building will allow the developer to finalize plans to rebrand the Sequoia Mall, hampered before by the fact Paynter did not own the large Sears parcel that extends to the corner of Mooney Boulevard and Caldwell Avenue.
Quoting from Paynter’s note: “The Buyer also owns the Sequoia Mall portion of the center and sees the acquisition as another piece in the puzzle of the redevelopment of the entire center.”
Seritage had been trying to lease out half the Visalia Sears building, but was unsuccessful. The marketing brochure declared the property is located at the “best retail intersection in the city.”
Seritage is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) based in New York that is a spinoff from Sears Holdings. Seritage owns almost 42 million square feet of real estate.
Sears, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2018, reportedly won a reprieve from liquidation last week after chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a $4.4 billion bid in an effort to revive the retailer. Earlier this week, another round of 80 store closures were announced, with a Kmart location in Stockton on the chopping block.
Should the Sequoia Mall Sears location close, Heritage benefits by renting the space out for a reported four times what Sears was paying.
When Sears closes Seritage benefits by renting the space out for a reported 4X what Sears was paying.
The 125-year-old company has more than 68,000 employees.
The transaction offers a chance in Visalia to knock the place down and start over. The City of Visalia has been working with Paynter on his redevelopment project since he bought the Sequoia Mall, 23.5 acres minus Sears and Hobby Lobby, in December 2013.
Seritage had also listed for lease half of the Manchester Center Sears location in Fresno. A lease has been signed for that space, but the new tenant has not been announced.