St. Paul Sears site on Rice Street sells for $7 million

The long-vacant Sears property on St. Paul’s Rice Street has been sold to the Pacifica Group/Windfall Group, an Illinois-based real estate partnership with a Twin Cities tie, for $7 million.

Eddie Ni, chief executive officer of the Windfall Group, is working with Marshall Nguyen, a partner and broker on the transaction and vice president with the Edina-based Caspian Group.

“I know Marshall fairly well,” said Andrew Heieie, a broker with Colliers International’s Twin Cities office, which listed the 17-acre property for sale last November. Heieie worked with Andrew Jacobs from Colliers’ New York office to market the listing.

“He’s told me there’s really no concrete plans. However, it’s likely to be transformed through an adaptive reuse and some peripheral development, because it’s a large site.”

Heieie added: “This was a very competitive process and there were multiple offers on the property.”

The location at 425 Rice St. closed in January 2019.

The Sears property alone spans at least 187,000 square feet, leading to efforts by the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board to work with property owner Seritage, consultants Kimley-Horn and S9 Architecture to lay out a vision for an urban village effectively extending the Rice Street business corridor.

The 12-member CAAPB board oversees zoning and planning for the 60-block area surrounding the Minnesota State Capitol building.

Sears can trace its roots back to Minneapolis watchmaker Richard W. Sears, who relocated to Chicago in the 1890s and formed a mail-order company — Sears, Roebuck & Co. — that enjoyed explosive growth in the emerging large-scale retail era but has limped into the era of online retail.

The company, which once maintained 3,500 Sears and Kmart stores, emerged from bankruptcy last year with just 22 active locations.

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