COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - One of Colorado Springs’ two former Sears stores has a new owner, who plans to remodel the building to accommodate multiple retailers and businesses.
A real estate development group headed by Springs businessman Josh Beggs paid $8.5 million several weeks ago for the 145,270-square-foot former Sears building at the Broadmoor Towne Center, 2050 Southgate Road on the city’s southwest side.
That store and another at the north-side Chapel Hills Mall were closed in March as part of a wave of downsizings by financially troubled Sears, whose parent company filed for bankruptcy protection last year. The parent company, which also controls Kmart, now is owned by an entity formed by Sears’ former CEO.
Beggs is president of Colorado Commercial Construction, a local general contractor and developer; he also founded the Magnum Shooting Center in the Polaris Pointe retail center on Colorado Springs far north side.
His real estate group anticipated the closing of the Sears store at Broadmoor Towne Center and had eyed the building’s purchase long before it went up for sale, Beggs said.
The building was attractive because of its location, he said. The shopping center, south of Nevada Avenue and Southgate Road, includes Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, Panera Bread, Noodles and several additional stores and restaurants.
Beggs’ group also liked the building’s location a few miles from The Broadmoor hotel and near South Nevada Avenue, which is being redeveloped with restaurants, stores and other businesses.
“The retail area is a very strong retail area, with the entire revitalization of South Nevada, it’s really what attracted us to it,” he said. “Then with the hotel being there, that’s a good draw for the area, as well.”
Paul Rubley, an Olive Real Estate Group broker who represented Beggs’ group in its purchase and who will market the building, said the property is surrounded by other successful shopping centers. At the same time, the building’s commercial zoning has no restrictions and will allow a variety of uses that will attract tenants, he said.
“It does not have any exclusives or covenants against the property,” Rubley said. “So it really is an 11-acre open campus, allowing for flexibility of use.”
Beggs said his group plans to spend a “significant” amount of money remodeling the building, where Sears had opened in February 1957.
The single-story building’s interior will be gutted and probably five retail spaces created, Beggs said. Everything inside — such as utility systems — needs updating, while the building’s exterior also will get a facelift.
“It’s 1950s construction,” Beggs said. “There’s a lot of updating that needs to happen. The shell of the building’s going to be the only thing standing when we’re done.”
Among others, Beggs said his group already is talking with groceries, a sports and outdoor group, fitness centers and national retailers.
A grocery could serve the fast-growing apartment market a few miles north in downtown Colorado Springs, said Rubley, of Olive Real Estate. So-called “experiential retailers” — such as a food court where many consumers gather for an experience, and not just shopping or dining — also are being targeted, he said.
Demolition permits have been pulled for the building’s interior, Beggs said. In a best-case scenario, the building will be remodeled and leased in time for new users to open in early 2021, he said.
The status of the 141,130-square-foot, former Sears at Chapel Hills Mall, northeast of Academy and Briargate boulevards, is less certain.
Although it’s part of the mall, the two-level Sears building is separately owned by Northwood Investors, a private real estate investment and management firm with assets in the U.S. and Europe. An official in Northwood’s Denver office didn’t respond to telephone calls from The Gazette.
Jill Lais, Chapel Hills’ regional marketing director, said the Sears space was used for last month’s Colorado Springs Comic Con, which was attended by 25,000 to 30,000 people over a three-day period.
Spirit Halloween, a seasonal retailer that typically operates in vacant, big-box buildings, also will open soon on the lower level of the former Sears building, Lais said.