Sears to sell or redevelop its massive corporate office in Chicago

A sign marks the entrance to the headquarters campus of Sears Holding in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

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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 it will begin to market the 273-acre property in the suburb of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to potential buyers early next year. 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 many employees have been working remote or a hybrid mix of office and home 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,” Costello said 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,” he said.

Transformco is controlled by former Sears Chief Executive Eddie Lampert, who acquired the chain and 425 of its stores out of a 2019 bankruptcy auction.

Today, there are more than 300 large and small format Sears and Kmart stores still in operation in the United States, Costello said.

Sears was at one point the biggest retailer in the nation, with more than 3,500 locations. Stores 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 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.

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