While the Rest of the Maine Mall is Booming, Here’s Why Sears Remains Vacant
If you've visited the Maine Mall in South Portland recently, you'll notice something that the mall has been after for a while now: little to no vacancy. Many malls across the country struggle with vacancy or have closed outright, but the Maine Mall has worked hard to continue to offer great food and retail options for customers.
That being said, there is one thing that stands out when looking at the Maine Mall: the defunct Sears end cap store that went out of the business about three years ago. While everything else in the Maine Mall has filled up, why does the Sears remain empty?
The reason is because Sears was one of the few companies nationwide that opted to buy the property a Sears store was built on versus lease it. Most major retailers prefer leases so that landlords are required to oversee repairs or maintenance work, but Sears was different.
When Sears began shuttering properties across the country years ago, questions swirled about how their property holdings would be handled through bankruptcy. So far, a clear answer hasn't been found. The Sears property in Brunswick remains vacant, as well as the Maine Mall end cap property.
Additionally, Sears owns a portion of the parking lot as well as the closed On the Border restaurant building. If you've been wondering why that hasn't been filled by another restaurant, it's because there's no landlord to answer to.
Eventually, the Sears property at the Maine Mall will be sold. It's listed as available for sale or lease right now. Whether or not it become a permanent part of the mall again or transformed into something else like apartments is anyone's guess. For now, it will remain a remnant of the past.