The company that controls the part of the Mall at Sears in Midtown Anchorage where the Carrs Safeway used to be is planning to remodel.
The proposed renovation from Carr-Gottstein Properties would change the 41,970-square-foot grocery space to a retail space, and would involve constructing a nearly 8,000-square-foot storage addition on the south side of the store, according to documents filed with the city's planning department.
Along with renovations to the interior, there would be exterior building upgrades and parking and landscaping changes. The total construction cost for the remodel is about $10 million.
Linda Boggs, marketing director for the mall, said on Thursday that Carr-Gottstein is in negotiation with a "potential tenant right now." She wouldn't give details.
"You never know where those things are going to go. But there are just certain things that need to be done to that space regardless of who moves in," Boggs said. "We've chosen to just go ahead and take care of those things."
Carr-Gottstein wants to convert the space for retail use because "we didn't see another potential grocery there to occupy the space," Boggs said.
A Carrs Safeway that used to be located in the spot set to be remodeled shut its doors in 2015 and the space has been mostly empty since. Meanwhile, Carrs Safeway has signed a lease to move into a space on the other side of the mall.
The proposal needs approval from the city's planning and zoning commission. Sonnet Calhoun, a land use reviewer in the city's planning department, said her section is recommending the project be approved.
"I think it's going to be a great improvement to the Sears mall," she said.
The time frame to start construction would hopefully be this summer, Boggs said.
In documents filed with the city, minutes from a Midtown Community Council meeting in January show that someone asked if the shopping center was "still in negotiations with REI." The minutes appear to show Scott Pulice, a representative from engineering firm Lounsbury & Associates, replying, "I can't say." Lounsbury is an agent for Carr-Gottstein on the review of the remodel project. Pulice didn't return calls on Friday.
REI is currently "looking at several sites" for a possible move, Anchorage store manager Mike Herzog said on Thursday. Staying put at its current location in the Northern Lights Center strip mall in Spenard is also still an option for the outdoor gear retailer, he said.
"We've been looking for a couple years, I think we've been pretty public about that," Herzog said. "But we haven't finalized anything yet. … We're always looking for better deals, like anybody would be."