Sears Midtown Houston location closing down

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HOUSTON - The landmark Sears building in Midtown Houston will be closing down in the near future.

According to the Rice Management Company, the store located at 4201 Main Street, and visible from the 59 Southwest Freeway and Spur 527, will close its doors for good within five months. No specific date was given.

The company has owned the six acres of land -- including the original Sears store, its accompanying surface parking lots, the Sears Automotive Center site on Eagle Street between Fannin and San Jacinto streets, and the Fiesta Mart at 4200 San Jacinto -- for 75 years and said it bought out the remaining 28 years of the lease from Sears.

Sears signed a 99-year lease for the land in 1945.

The Fiesta Mart has two years remaining on its lease terms and the management company said the grocery store is expected to be unaffected.

Rice Management Company acquired three more acres from Sears, bringing its total ownership to 9.4 acres at the Wheeler Transit Station in Midtown.

"Removing the long-term lease obligation from Rice's Midtown property will allow the university to initiate a process of thoughtful planning for the future use of this land," Rice Management Company President David Leebron. "The Rice Management Company will initiate a yearlong study to consider options that contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the surrounding community as well as the city's broader economic strength. In this process, we'll consult with many actors and experts, including the Urban Land Institute, city officials and our own Kinder Institute for Urban Research.  This is another dimension of Rice's enthusiastic engagement with the city of Houston, while at the same time assuring a return to the university's endowment in support of our missions of education, research and community service."

The Sears site was part of Rice's portfolio of endowment investments.

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