CBL buys Cool Springs Sears, plans 'redevelopment'

Mall owner will revamp anchor space for variety of uses

Mall operator CBL & Associates has acquired the space currently occupied by Sears at the 1.1 million-square-foot CoolSprings Galleria as well as at its mall in Lexington, Ky.

Chattanooga-based CBL plans to redevelop the anchor space, but Sears will continue to operate there in the near term as the company finalizes its plans.

"The acquisition of these Sears stores will allow us to create substantial value at two of our most productive malls,” said Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL, in a statement. “We have plans to redevelop and expand both buildings to create space for new high-end specialty stores and restaurants designed to augment each properties’ market-dominant position and enhance their strong growth rates."

Katie Reinsmidt, senior vice president for investor relations and corporate investment, told NashvillePost.com that the Sears space will be redeveloped into a number of new mall shops and that the company will add "exterior shops (and) restaurants at some point in the future," a concept the company first said it envisioned for Cool Springs as far back as 2008.

The Galleria was the seventh-best producing mall of CBL's 77 regional malls in 2012, generating $459 per square foot in sales. The property opened its doors in 1991 and is now half-owned by giant pension fund TIAA-CREF.