Demolition at the Kokomo Sears kicked off this week to make room for a development project set to feature seven new tenants to the south of Markland Mall and two “pads” offering potential dining options.
A planned redevelopment of the Kokomo Sears space was twice granted development plan approval from the Kokomo City Plan Commission this year, the second vote necessitated by slight changes made to the project by Washington Prime Group, the owner of both Markland Mall and Markland Plaza.
Prior to the project’s first approval, in April, details emerged about a planned demolition of Sears to open up space for seven new tenants to the south of Markland Mall.
A site plan for the project shows three proposed minor, or small shop, tenants and four proposed major, or box, tenants. The major tenants range from 12,000 to 22,000 square feet. The minor tenants are each proposed at around 4,000 square feet, according to the site plan.
“We are excited that the demolition of the former department store space has begun as this is a major milestone in the multi-million-dollar renovation at Markland Mall. The project remains on schedule and we will share additional details once we are able to announce the new tenants,” said Kimberly Green, spokesperson for Washington Prime Group, the parent company of Markland Mall, in a statement Wednesday.
A previous Washington Prime Group press release noted that potential tenants include big box retail, entertainment and grocery. The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.
Also revealed at the April meeting was a planned “pad,” or additional tenant, placed in front of the major and minor tenants, likely to be a restaurant.
At the July 11 plan commission meeting, Stephen Harris, vice president of development at Washington Prime Group, acknowledged some slight changes made since April to the project’s development plans.
In addition to moving the project back, toward 17th Street, to accommodate parking concerns, Harris said another pad, a restaurant, was added to the project. The “quick service restaurant” will be located between Target and Markland Avenue.
Notably, the slight move toward 17th Street eliminated a planned breezeway within the project, which Harris previously said would be semi-covered and include possible entertainment and food options.
The Sears store in Kokomo, one of the original tenants of the Markland Mall when it opened in 1968, shut its doors for good in March.
The huge “SEARS” letters outside the store were quickly taken down, marking the end of a local landmark that stood in the city for one year shy of half a century.