As Sears continues to consolidate its retail locations in an effort to become a more lean and profitable business, the company is faced with left over square footage in the tens of millions. So what will the company do with that space? According to the company, it will repurpose the closed stores, turning them into data centers, disaster relief hubs, and more.
The company has begun to close its less profitable Sears and Kmart locations, and now it looks as if big data, wireless carriers, and other industry players could benefit from new leasable locations.
The move could benefit millions of nearby workers. According to reports, 7. percent of US citizens live within 10 miles of a Sears or Kmart location.
Sears Holdings’ Ubiquity Critical Environments Chief Operating Officer Sean Farney says of the decision:
“It’s an amazing real estate portfolio. The goal is not to sell off properties. It’s to reposition the assets of this iconic brand. The big idea is that you have a technology platform laid atop a retail footprint, creating the possibility for a product with a very different look to it.”
Sears is already repurposing some of its closed and soon-to-close locations including a 127,000 square foot location on the south side of Chicago. That location will close in June and then be converted into a data center. Sears already has one client committed to using the new Sears data center facility. According to Farney:
“It’s a building that’s lit very well, from both a fiber and power perspective. It’s going to be great data center building.”
Once retrofitted the Chicago data center will be able to run off 5 MW of power.
So why would companies be willing to take advantage of Sears data and other center locations? According to the company’s CEO:
“There are compelling reasons why this is a great model. The customer has evolved to the point where they want a sexier location, where they can have access to a Starbucks and other retail, because it’s possible they may be there for weeks or months. Sears and Kmart stores are located in just such retail locations in major malls.”
Taking a multi-step approach to rental space Ubiquity will rent rooftops at approved locations to cellular tower providers and broadcast hardware companies. As stated, 70 percent of all Americans live within 10 miles of a Sears or Kmart location, which means hundreds of millions of cell phone and broadcast users could benefit from the company’s focus on multiple uses for the platform.