City leaders, mall owners optimistic after Sears announces Roanoke store closure

"We see this as an opportunity that will have a positive impact on the mall."

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City and Valley View Mall officials are optimistic after Sears announced its closing its Roanoke location.

The company announced Tuesday that it will close the store by October.

"Well, you never want a vacancy, especially one of that size in any mall, so I'm sure they'll be devoting a lot of attention to filling up that space and we'll be happy to support them in any way we can to make sure that happens," said Rob Ledger, the manager and interim director of Roanoke's economic development department.

It's not the first time the chain has closed in the region. Sears and Kmart locations have closed in both Southside and Central Virginia.

In Lynchburg, River Ridge Mall plans to demolish the former Sears building and replace it with new, big box retailers.

Back in the Star City, locals are hoping something will take Sears' place soon.

"Maybe like a bowling alley or laser tag or a food restaurant we don't have here," said Sacha Brown, who lives in Salem. 

"Maybe a woman's clothing store or something for kids," said Sharoya Thompson, who works at Valley View Mall.

A Sears spokesperson told 10 News that information about "the number of store employees impacted is not available. We're not commenting on the plans for the building, other than to say that liquidation sales at the stores are expected to begin around August 15."

The mall's property owner, CBL Propertiesc told WSLS:

"We see this as an opportunity that will have a positive impact on the mall. CBL has a long track record of successfully replacing or redeveloping anchor locations that has resulted in a win-win for the consumer and our properties."

So what's in store for this former Sears?

"This area is still a retail hub," Ledger said. "People still drive from two to three hours away. I think anybody that's looking to relocate or locate a new store in a facility like this will be encouraged to do so."

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