Sears, the department store that time, fashion trends, and shoppers forgot, is struggling nationwide. Decades of dwindling sales have put the once-great chain's future in question, but the company has proposed a radical strategy for its location at Aventura Mall that may signal the future of the company.
Sears execs want to redevelop the store into its own mall-within-a-mall. The store currently occupies 190,000 square feet attached to the mall but would scale its own store back to just 20,000 square feet. To put that into perspective, that would be about 5,000 square feet fewer than the H&M at Aventura Mall.
The current store would be demolished, and the rebuild would leave an additional 230,000 square feet to be filled by an open-air esplanade filled with other retail stores and restaurants.
The plan also calls for 45,000 square feet for offices and a hotel. Yes, a hotel attached directly to Aventura Mall.
The project would be dubbed Esplanade at Aventura.
Sears and its subsidiary Kmart are under the control of CEO and largest shareholder Edward Lampert, an Ayn Rand-obsessed investor who has seen both chains' fortunes crumble under his tenure thanks to a slew of questionable operational moves. (Lampert, by the way, keeps one of his many homes in Indian Creek Village.)
Lampert's latest move toward saving the company (or at least squeezing out every bit of value left) is to focus more on the department store's property holdings rather than reinventing the retailer. Esplanade at Aventura is certainly in line with that vision.
"We are confident that we can deliver a convenient, day-to-day town center experience for local residents while also catering to the regional, national, and international customers that frequent Aventura," Paul D'Arelli, development adviser for Sears Holdings, said in a statement.
The company has already asked for city approval for the plan, but no timeline has been set.
Here's what the Sears at Aventura looks like now in case you've forgotten, because, well, forgetting about Sears is not uncommon.