Brookfield officials are working out plans to redevelop
(left) the closed Sears Auto Center and adjacent parking
at Brookfield Square.
Freeman file photo
Plans to redevelop a 9.5-acre parcel on the southernmost
end of Brookfield Square are progressing, though
specific details are still being fleshed out, according
to municipal officials.
Common Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to
discuss the proposed acquisition of the Sears Auto
Center site and adjacent parking lots, where a
combination hotel and conference center has been eyed.
In June, the city
announced plans of purchasing the parcel from CBL and
Associates, the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based property
management firm that owns Brookfield Square.
meeting, the council discussed with Dan Ertl, director
of community development, a financial plan that could
involve relocating a tax-incremental district to help
fund project costs and associated improvements at and
near the site.
Mayor Steve Ponto
said the council did not take any action on the item
adjourned in closed session," Ponto said. "This was
really done to bring the council up to date on the
When asked about
a timeline for more specifics on the redevelopment
plans, Ponto said no firm details are set in stone at
"But we are
moving along," Ponto said. "There are a lot of moving
parts to this."
Based on his
best-guess estimate, Ponto said, he believed some of the
heavy lifting on the redevelopment plans could take
place in the second half of 2018.
the best guess timeline, based on where we're at right
now," he said.
Ponto said the
council likely would not act on the TID plan taken up in
closed session this week until one important piece of
the puzzle is put into place.
"We want to have
a hotel partner lined up," Ponto said. "Having that
long-term agreement in place will be important."
Ponto said, is complex, but he expressed optimism and
said the city continues to move toward bringing the
planned hotel and conference center to fruition.
Early this year,
CBL purchased Sears, one of Brookfield Square's three
longtime department store anchors, and its ancillary
auto center through a leaseback agreement.
Sears Holdings Corporation, which owns the Sears and
Kmart chains, received an upfront payment for the Sears
space, which it had owned before the transaction. Moving
forward, however, SHC has to make rent payments to CBL
to maintain operations at the mall.
strapped Sears Holdings has been closing scores of
stores after years of declining sales and a changing
While the main
Sears department store continues operations at
Brookfield Square, the company shuttered the auto center
in June in one of several cost-cutting maneuvers this