The former Sears near Frandor is available to national restaurants, retailers

LANSING – Two years after Sears closed its East Michigan Avenue store near the Frandor shopping center, the property’s owner has begun working with a commercial real estate agency to offer the site to “hundreds of national retailers and restaurants,” said Pat Gillespie. president of The Gillespie Group.

The Lansing-based developer wants to redevelop the nearly 200,000-square-foot building as ROECO, a “regional mixed-use entertainment destination,” according to a news release.

CBRE is actively marketing the property, Gillespie said.

The move comes more than a year after the company hired Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Streetsense to study the area’s demographics and complete a market analysis of what would succeed there.

The Gillespie Group is buying the property at 3131 E. Michigan Ave. 13 years ago.

Sparrow Health System in May 2020 opened a coronavirus testing site in a part of the building that is still in operation. The hospital leases space from The Gillespie Group.

The 14-acre property is largely vacant but full of potential, Gillespie said.

The Sears Water Tower at Frandor Mall on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Lansing.

Area residents have said they want to see “good dining options” and retail there, he said, and experts agree the community would support both.

“Now that we’ve heard that we’ve put together a plan to bring it to these retailers and restaurants … and say, if we bring this, is this somewhere you’re going to find?” Gillespie said. “If they say yes, which we hope they will, we can get on with it.” We’re chasing some of the national prospects that are out there in the bigger cities in terms of entertainment.”

Conceptual conversations about restaurants, retail

Sears occupied the space for more than six decades after moving from a downtown Lansing location in the fall of 1954. It was a fixture in Greater Lansing for 66 years before closing in 2020. Last summer, Gillespie said, that redeveloping the property could cost anywhere from $60 million to $190 million.

A concept rendering of what the former Sears property at 3131 E. Michigan Ave. could look like if it plans to redevelop it as ROECO,

Conceptual renderings of what ROECO could look like if realized show a converted building housing a restaurant with rooftop dining and retail shops.

Renderings are shared with national companies. The Gillespie Group is selling the property, said Megan Weber, the company’s real estate coordinator.

A concept rendering of what the former Sears property at 3131 E. Michigan Ave. could look like if it plans to redevelop it as ROECO,

“Our goal is to keep the existing building,” Weber said, but the company is exploring what interest it has from national companies. “Nothing is set in stone that this will happen in a certain timeline.”

If the company can secure tenants, conceptual plans call for demolishing about 15,000 square feet of the existing building, largely on the East Michigan Avenue side, Gillespie said, as well as adding square footage to the existing structure.

Leave a Comment