Eastland Mall's owner says it sees Sears' plans to close this fall as an opportunity to further redefine what a modern mall looks like.
CBL Properties spokeswoman Stacey Keating struck an optimistic tone when discussing the mall's future, as Kohl's will soon be the last anchor store left.
“We really see this decision as an excellent opportunity to elevate the Sears building into a more productive use,” Keating said. “We are continuing to evaluate plans for that space, but unfortunately it’s far too early to share any concrete information.”
Sears announced Wednesday is was closing 46 unprofitable locations, including its store in Bloomington.
Keating suggested the Sears space could become a blend of retail and non-retail, adding that the traditional shopping mall concept is gone.
“When malls were first built in the 70s and 80s, it was four to five fashion anchor stores and a primarily retail mix in the center, and we are really kind of blowing up that model,” Keating said.
Keating said malls are now looking to get foot traffic in other ways, through entertainment, dining and fitness.
Outback Steakhouse is also moving its restaurant to the northeast corner of the mall property near the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Empire Street.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.