Westfield Montgomery Reps Say Sears Will Close in March 2019

Westfield Montgomery Reps Say Sears Will Close in March 2019

Retailer says it 'looks forward to continuing to serve' customers at the store

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The Sears store at Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda will close at the end of March 2019 and will be cleared away to make room for new development, the mall owners have announced.

The mall company last year bought the big-box store building as part of a $105 million package deal that included two other stores.

In a Tuesday interview, Jim Agliata, vice president of development for Westfield, said the Sears store would close on March 31, 2019, and be demolished soon after as the mall owners begin a major project to build housing and high-end shops and restaurants on the site.

Sears would not confirm the closing date reported by Westfield Montgomery and a spokesman responded to questions with a prepared statement:

“We currently hold a lease that we signed with the mall owner in January 2018. Sears looks forward to continuing to serve our members and customers at this store as we have for the last 50 years.”

In January, the Sears company inadvertently filed notice with the state that the store would be closing and laying off up to 73 people starting in mid-March. Spokesman Howard Riefs explained at the time that the company had been considering the closure but renewed its lease with the mall at the last minute. However, the Sears company accidentally sent the layoff notification to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which posted the information on its website. 

Westfield Montgomery is preparing to send Montgomery County planners a proposal to build about 670 apartment units and 300,000 square feet of new retail and hotel space. Some retail space will also be removed from the site when the developer knocks down the Sears store and auto center.

Agliata said Westfield expects to begin work on the first phase of the project in 2019, possibly completing it in 2022.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com

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