The beleaguered department store chain Sears is considering a sale or a redevelopment of its massive corporate headquarters in suburban Chicago, as its retail footprint keeps dwindling.
Transformco, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, said the company will begin to market the 273-acre property in the suburb of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to potential buyers in early 2022. It’s also considering other redevelopment uses for the site.
It’s unclear how many Sears and Kmart employees have been working out of the corporate office, but as of 2017 it housed more than 4,000 workers, according to company filings.
Transformco spokesman Larry Costello said that many workers have been remote or using a hybrid approach to going into the office during the pandemic.
“These changes have reduced our needs for a corporate campus that was built 30 years ago for the needs of a more centralized business,” said Costello in an emailed statement.
“We are exploring development opportunities for the Hoffman Estates property that enhance its value for both associates based there and the broader Hoffman Estates community,” added Costello.
Transformco is controlled by former Sears Chief Executive Edward Lampert, who acquired the department store chain and 425 of its stores out of a 2019 bankruptcy auction.
Today, there are over 300 large and small format Sears and Kmart stores still in operation in the United States, said Costello.
Sears was at one point the biggest retailer in the nation, with more than 3,500 locations. Many of those shops have been shuttered, and others redeveloped, in recent years as the company fell out of favor with consumers. Just last month, Sears closed the doors to its last-standing store in Illinois.
The property in Hoffman Estates, which includes a 2.3-million-square-foot corporate office, has been Sears’ headquarters since 1992.
The Chicago Tribune first reported on Sears’ plans.