Investment firm tied to company chairman buys shuttered stores in Tampa, St. Petersburg
Companies led by Sears Holdings’ Chairman Edward Lambert have acquired nearly a dozen Florida shuttered Sears stores through an entity led by a Bay Harbour Islands-based investment firm.
ESL Investments Inc., of Bay Harbour, also is controlled by Lambert, who acquired Sears’ assets earlier this year for $5.2 billion following the iconic retailer’s bankruptcy last fall.
As part of the purchase, ESL-led Transform Dove Holdco LLC has purchased former Sears stores in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Vero Beach, Port Richey, Ocala, Jacksonville, Orange Park, Sanford, Coral Springs and Merritt Island.
Along the Gulf Coast, ESL Investments’ TF Citrus Park FL LLC and TF Seminole FL LLC purchased derelict Sears stores at 7902 Citrus Park Town Center and 4600 Park St. North, respectively, for a combined $9.9 million last month, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County records show.
No word yet on what ESL plans to do with the real estate, but public filings related to Lambert’s purchase indicate ESL plans to move ahead with a retail offering in the shuttered stores.
“Our proposed business plan envisages significant strategic initiatives and investments in a right-sized network of large format and small retail stores, digital assets and interdependent operating businesses,” Transform Holdco wrote late last year, according to U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission documents.
Other Gulf Coast-area former Sears stores also are drawing investors’ attention.
In late March, a Charlotte, N.C.-based firm bought the vacant Sears store on 15 acres at DeSoto Square Mall, in Bradenton. Madison Capital Group partnerships spent $6.75 million to purchase the nearly 100,000-square-foot store at the mall.