October 11, 2017
In 1939, the art-deco-style Sears store opened in Houston’s Midtown submarket as a modern, air-conditioned store. In late January, 2018, the 185,000-square-foot building at 4201 Main will be shuttered, a part of Sears Holdings’ plan to close hundreds of stores nationwide.
Rice Management Co., which is responsible for Rice University’s endowment, owned the six-acre parcel on which the store sits for more than 75 years. The endowment leased the land to Sears in 1945, under a 99-year agreement. Rice Management bought out the remaining 28 years of the lease, and acquired three contiguous acres owned by Sears.
“Removing the long-term lease obligation from Rice’s Midtown property will allow the university to initiate a process of thoughtful planning for the future use of this land,” Rice President David Leebron said. Rice Management is planning a year-long study to consider potential options for the space, he added.
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