Former Sears in Lakewood sells to owner of adjacent property

A former Sears building along Colfax Avenue in Lakewood has sold, four years after the store closed.

Austin-based Artesia Real Estate Investments purchased the onetime department store at 10785 W. Colfax Ave. last week, according to the brokerage that represented the seller. The deal also included a separate smaller building closer to the street that once housed a Sears Automotive Center.

Sears closed the store in late 2018, along with dozens of others nationwide, shortly after filing for bankruptcy. It and the auto center building have sat vacant since.

Artesia paid $13.78 million, according to public records, for the 7.65-acre site, which includes 163,957 square feet across the two buildings and a host of parking spaces.

Artesia already owns the connected Westland Town Center retail complex. It purchased that property, whose tenants include Lowe’s, in November 2021 for $22.5 million, records show.

Matt Taylor, vice president of investments at Artesia, said the company doesn’t have any immediate plans for the Sears property, although long-term the entire site will likely become a mixed-use development. There’s no firm timeline for that, he said.

Capstone brokers Travis Hodge and Anthony Bobay represented the seller, Seritage Growth Properties, which owns Sears’ current and former real estate.

Hodge said the pair started marketing the property in March, after having sold a site across the street to San Antonio-based apartment developer Embrey Partners.

“We figured there’s good interest on that site, so why don’t we reach out to whoever owns this old Sears,” Hodge said.

Hodge said he expected the property to receive interest from apartment developers. That’s due in large part to the fact that the West Colfax corridor, as an “urban renewal area,” is exempt from a measure that Lakewood voters passed in 2019 limiting the amount of new housing that can be built in the city, he said.

Hodge said he did indeed receive interest from apartment developers, but there was one complicating factor. The property has a “reciprocal easement agreement” with the neighboring Westland lot.

“The agreement gave both sides a whole lot of authority to approve any kind of redevelopment plans that would materially change the building exterior … In order to really develop anything other than an adaptive reuse of the existing building, somebody had to figure out how to revise or dissolve that reciprocal easement agreement,” Hodge said.

That made Artesia the logical buyer, Hodge said, because the company is now on both sides of the agreement — meaning no negotiations will be necessary.

Hodge said that, between the Sears property and the Westland property, Artesia now controls a contiguous 40-acre site.

This is the fourth Denver-area property Artesia has purchased in the last year. In addition to the Westland Town Center, the company has also bought an industrial property at 600 W. Bayaud Ave. in Denver in April for $8.25 million and the Broadridge Shopping Center at 6905 S. Broadway in Littleton in August for $13 million, records show.

Denver is one of seven markets that Artesia has targeted, according to Taylor. The others are its home base of Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake and Seattle.

This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.

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