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Ann Arbor Observer: Life After Sears

According to Ann Arbor Observer,

The Sears store at Briarwood quietly closed its doors late in 2018, the final chapter in the department store's seventy-eight-year history in Ann Arbor. In the final days, most shoppers were looking for bargains. Few lamented its closing.

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Spenser Allaway of Green Street Advisors, a commercial real estate research and consulting firm, says that though a lot of malls get into trouble when Sears--and even worse, a second anchor store--closes, malls in areas with a healthy regional economy, high employment, good incomes, and a growing population will make it.

"A Class A mall, like Briarwood, it should do fine," says Allaway. "It's got solid demographics, and there's really no nearby competing malls. The key will be to find new tenants that meet the needs of its shoppers."

"More experiential retailers, such as restaurants and high-end movie theaters with reclining seats that serve beer, say from a local brewery--that could really work," says Saunders. Other possibilities, he says, include gyms, grocery stores, and even apartments.

Employees at Briarwood stores say they've heard rumors about a high-end movie theater as well as more restaurants and specialty stores. At Williams-Sonoma, workers mention other possibilities, including a megachurch. Others talk about a post office or maybe a Nordstrom. A few have other ideas too.

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