Another Shuttered Chicago Sears Store To Reopen As Housing

The closed Sears store at North and Harlem in Chicago’s North Austin neighborhood is the latest to be turned into housing by a New York investment group.

Seritage is a company that was spun off from Sears four years ago specifically to slurp up dead Sears stores and transform them into “revitalized shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations.” Seritage’s web site states that the company has 206 properties in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

Rendering of the renovated North and Harlem Sears Store (Courtesy of Tucker Development)
Rendering of the renovated North and Harlem Sears Store (Courtesy of Tucker Development)

In the city’s Austin neighborhood, Seritage is using the retail crisis to address the housing crisis. The Chicago Plan Commission recently approved the company’s notion to turn the five-story former retail building at 1601 North Harlem Avenue into 161 new homes up top, with a new supermarket and health club on the ground floor, and 462 parking spaces.

Rendering of 7141 West Wabansia
Rendering of 7141 West Wabansia

The Commission also approved Seritage’s plan to build four new apartment buildings on the adjacent former Sears parking lot at 7141 West Wabansia. That part of this project will bring 152 new residences, along with 177 parking spaces to the neighborhood.

This Sears store closed in late 2017, and was the next-to-last Sears in Chicago.

We first reported on this project a little over a year ago. Back then we added this tidbit:

While it may seem strange to some for a department store chain to evolve into a real estate developer, it’s not unheard of.  A number of department stores own the land on which they sit, and use it as a financial instrument.  Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue for two.  And what we know today as the massive New York REIT called Vornado started as Two Guys, a low-end department store chain.

Location: 1601 North Harlem Avenue, North Austin

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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