Redevelopment plans for Sears at Asheville Mall call for movie theater


Plans for the redevelopment of the massive Sears store at the Asheville Mall took a step forward with the recent filing of paperwork with the city planners.

The pre-application for a conditional zoning calls for restaurants, retail stores, outlets, a multiplex movie theater and multi-family residential to create a mixed-use development. Back in September, I noted a site plan posted online that labeled the position of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema inside the Sears store footprint. That site plan has since been taken down.

Seritage Growth Properties is heading up the redevelopment plan. Seritage is a New York real estate investment trust that owns more than 250 Sears and Kmart stores around the country and is beginning to redevelop some of them. Seritage gained control of the stores in 2015 as part of a $2.7-billion deal that involved leasing most of them back to Sears Holding Corp., which also owns Kmart, the LA Times reports. Declining sales have forced Sears to shutter more than 200 stores this year.

Here’s the Seritage page for Asheville Mall.

The Sears location at the Asheville Mall is a classic big box store that has faced increased competition from online, and other, retails in recent years. Along with the redevelopment plans, Sears has closed hundreds of stores in the past few years.

The Sears location at Asheville Mall is 974,399 square feet, according to the mall’s wiki page. The mall opened in 1971 with Sears, Belk and Bon Marche as anchor retailers. The Sears location at the Tunnel Road mall also includes Sears Auto Center in a separate building adjacent to the mall.

Alamo Drafthouse offers dinners, drinks, movies and events all under one roof, according to its website. Alamo touts its beer selection, which highlights local breweries, as well as its gourmet food offerings. It operates about 25 theaters across the country, including New York, San Francisco and soon in Raleigh.


Beverly-Hanks January 2, 2018 - 12:14 pm

Between the changes to Sears and the new The Peaks shopping center in the former Beaucatcher Cinema across the street, that end of Tunnel Road will look very different soon!

hauntedheadnc December 29, 2017 - 4:05 pm

The Citizen-Times is reporting this remodel/renovation will include more than just the movie theater; it’s supposed to have more shops and restaurants, and a housing component with 204 units.

Bring it on! I’d love to see a serious residential incursion into Asheville’s commercial strips. Those are the best places in town to add some serious residential density.

Barry Summers December 30, 2017 - 9:03 pm

And who wouldn’t want to live at a mall? Sign me up!!

hauntedheadnc January 1, 2018 - 10:37 am

Well, would you rather they make a stab at redeveloping Tunnel Road into something approaching urban, or would you prefer the suburban crapscape that’s there now in perpetuity?

People seem to do just fine living immersed in the commerce when they do it in Biltmore Park or downtown, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t in a thoughtfully-designed redesign of someplace like the mall.

jason December 29, 2017 - 2:38 pm

Buncombe Tax website for 1 tunnel rd lists the building as being 230,302 sq feet. I would trust that site more than a wiki page. Could you also post the plans submitted to the city? I am surprised they did’nt add even more residential in that unused parking lot that leads out to cookout. Maybe phase 2? Parking garage with a bridge to a second building?

Stan December 28, 2017 - 10:33 pm

I’m willing to guess that the whole mall is 900,000 Square feet and Sears was a good chunk of that.

Weavervilleman December 29, 2017 - 6:07 pm

Stan, No. According to Buncombe County GIS site, The sears building is approximately 227000 square feet. OR about 25% of the property will be redeveloped. Only a small portion of the size of the mall will be eliminated once work is done.

wncrod December 31, 2017 - 1:11 pm

You’re correct, Stan. This article mixed up the numbers. The mall’s wiki states the whole mall is 974,399 sq ft and that Sears occupies 221,448 sq ft of this space.

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