08 Jun SEAFOOD GROCERY STORE TO TAKE OVER NORTH MAYFAIR KMART
A seafood grocery store is set to take over Kmart’s space in North Mayfair, as that location becomes the latest victim of parent company Sears’ efforts to slow its financial distress.
California-based grocery store Seafood City will take over the lease for the building at 5033 N. Elston Ave., according to an email sent from the office of Alderman Margaret Laurino, 39th. Kmart is set to close in mid-August.
“I’m sorry to see Kmart leave our community, but I’m glad the building won’t remain vacant and abandoned,” Laurino said in the email. “This new development will bring significant new investment and additional retail amenities to our community.”
Seafood City, which features meat and fresh seafood departments, produce, a bakery and Filipino and Asian grocery products, plans to spend more than $1 million remodeling the building, according to Laurino’s email. Seafood City plans to fill two to four vacancies in the building with other retailers, a spokesman from Laurino’s office said.
Laurino was not available for additional comment and Seafood City officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The space on Elston is likely in need of renovations. Sears has been shuttering Kmart locations left and right for months as the retailer has attempted to right a downward performance. Many of the Kmart stores that have been shut down were underperforming and physically run down.
“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,” said Kmart spokesman Howard Riefs in an email. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail.”
Kimco Realty, a real estate investment trust headquartered in New Hyde Park, N.Y., bought the nearly 87,000-square-foot building in 1997, according to property records. Kmart’s lease did not expire until June 2024.
Scott Tucker, a leasing representative at Kimco, said Sears initiated the deal with Seafood City, and would not comment on the specifics.
“It’s a deal they worked out, something they orchestrated,” he said.
As a final nail in its coffin, the Kmart at 5033 N. Elston, which has been open since 1998, will hold a liquidation sale starting June 14. Riefs said the store’s 99 employees will be eligible to receive severance and apply for positions at other Sears and Kmart stores. There are 37 Kmart stores still open in Illinois.