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Sears’ flagship store in Loop likely shrinking with CPS moving in

1 North Dearborn st. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

1 North Dearborn st. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

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Updated: January 20, 2014 8:22AM

Sears’ flagship store at 1 N. Dearborn could be radically downsized based on new details released Wednesday about the new tenant in the building: Chicago Public Schools.

CPS is moving its headquarters into the building, and school officials revealed Wednesday that it will occupy a ground-floor lobby entrance space at 1 N. Dearborn, all of the second and third floors, and a portion of the ninth floor for school board offices.

That appears to mean that the Sears flagship store, which now occupies the building’s lower level and the first three floors, would be dramatically downsized .

Asked to respond, a Sears spokesman on Wednesday repeated the Hoffman Estates-based retailer’s statement from Tuesday: “We’re not privy to any conversations between the landlord and Chicago Public Schools. The store will continue to serve our members and customers as normal, including throughout the holiday season.”

Sears operates an e-commerce operation on the fourth floor with more than 100 employees. The e-commerce operation is Sears’ main focus, since the company’s web-based loyalty program, Shop Your Way, generates more than half of Sears’ revenues and accounts for 70 percent of the company’s sales.

Real-estate sources say the Sears store, which has been at the State Street site since 2001, has suffered from poor sales performance.

CPS will move next year from 125 S. Clark, the 19-story building CPS now owns and occupies. The building will go on the market in the coming weeks. Tom Tyrrell, CPS’ chief operating officer, declined to say this week what the real estate might be worth. When CPS bought the building in 1998 from ComEd, it paid $8.3 million, a CPS spokesman said this week.

CPS’ 1,200 employees will occupy a total of 160,000 square feet in the 1 N. Dearborn building — roughly one-third the space of its current headquarters, but CPS spokesman Joel Hood could not provide details on the square footage of the entry lobby area or the other floor areas would be. The CPS move to the new headquarters space is expected to take place by November 2014.

CPS officials are still weighing floor plans, he said.

The Sun-Times first reported late Tuesday the CPS headquarters move.


Twitter: @sandraguy

Contributing: Becky Schlikerman

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