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Real Estate - Commercial

Mall Redevelopment Plans Show Grocery Store For Sears Space

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 14, 2018
The owners of the mall in Wilmington have submitted site plans for the first phase of a planned redevelopment project. (File rendering)
A grocery store could be one of the new retailers coming to The Collection at Independence, currently still called Independence Mall.

Owners of the mall at 3500 Oleander Drive have submitted plans to the city for the first phase of The Collection at Independence, a redevelopment project announced in March by Rouse Properties, now named Brookfield Properties. Rouse purchased much of the mall last year. 

The site plans show that the 185,000-square-foot Sears building and existing Sears wing – a total of nearly 300,000 square feet – could be replaced by 185,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant exterior-facing spaces, including a 25,700-square-foot grocery store.

The plans also show that the largest retailer would be 50,000 square feet along the new outdoor corridor on what's now the Sears side of the mall, along with two new restaurant outparcel buildings closer to Oleander Drive. Store closing signs for the Sears at the Wilmington mall began showing up in April.

The site plans do not indicate which specific retailers might be part of the redevelopment. City of Wilmington senior planner Brian Chambers said Thursday that he has been told that German retailer Lidl, a discount grocery store chain, has been looking at Oleander Drive as a possible site for a store, in addition to Eastwood Road, where Lidl owns property. He could not say whether the Oleander Drive site refers to the mall.

Lidl was planned to be the anchor tenant in a development on South 17th Street, but according to a lawsuit filed June 8 by the developers of the project, Lidl officials terminated the grocery chain's purchase and sale agreement for the site. 

In 2016, during Independence Mall's foreclosure proceedings (which ended with the Brookfield's purchase of the property), court documents named Fresh Market as a potential tenant for 23,000 square feet of space in the Sears wing.

In addition to a potential grocery store, the mall site plans filed this week show 10 restaurant spaces, including the two outparcels. 

In May, the mall's owner submitted site plans for an 8,800-square-foot restaurant called Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar, co-owned by NFL quarterback Drew Brees, that would be built over a parking lot at 3710 Oleander Drive in front of The Collection at Independence.

The Phase 1 plans for changes to the mall are expected to be considered by the city's Technical Review Committee on June 28, according to the city's project tracking website.

Correction: This version corrects Drew Brees' status as an NFL quarterback.
 

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