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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 29, 201905:10 AM EST

Former Sears warehouse is back on the market for lease

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Owner LBA Logistics says the almost 750,000-square-foot Imeson center in North Jacksonville can be divided for four tenants.

Another large Jacksonville industrial building is available for lease, adding another option to companies looking for warehouse space in a tight industrial market.

LBA Logistics LLC is marketing for lease the 734,544-square-foot former Sears warehouse at 1 Imeson Park Blvd. in North Jacksonville now that Sears consolidated its operations from there to a 2 million-square-foot Ocala center several weeks ago.

Sears Holding Corp. said in December it would close the center about mid-April as the company downsized through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

“It’s in great shape,” said LBA Logistics LLC Principal David Thomas.

Innovel Solutions Inc., part of the struggling Sears Holdings Corp., sold the warehouse in April 2018 to 1 Imeson Park Blvd LLC, part of LBA.

The warehouse was built in 1990 on 59 acres.

The structure was built in 1990 on 59 acres.

The property sale was recorded at $32.25 million. A $22.9 million mortgage issued in connection with the transaction shows that it secures three properties – 1 Imeson Blvd. and two Sears properties in Melrose Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Thomas said that it purchased a portfolio from Sears about a year ago comprising properties in Jacksonville, Winter Park, Dallas, Chicago, San Diego and Wilkes-Barr.

“All of the property involved short-term lease-backs from Sears, so despite Sears’ financial problems, we knew from the start that we would be getting the buildings back and re-tenant them,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the group probably would divide the space for two to four tenants. Rents have not been determined. Luke Pope, executive vice president of the JLL commercial real estate company, is the leasing broker.

LBA Logistics is based in Irvine, California, and owns industrial logistics problems nationwide, he said. “We do a lot of work with corporations in helping them to solve their real estate problems,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the Imeson location is a great submarket in Jacksonville.

He said the building is air-conditioned and excess land is available for trailer and employee parking. The group considers it flexible for logistics companies and light manufacturers.

“Before purchasing the building, we did a lot of research on the Jacksonville market,” Thomas said.

He said it was the group’s first Jacksonville acquisition and the group appreciated “what’s happening with the economic environment in Jacksonville and the job growth, the population growth, the strategic logistics location that benefits from the port in Jacksonville, as well as its location in Northeast Florida and access to the entire Southeastern U.S."

Thomas said the group bought more than 6 million square feet of space from Sears, which has not vacated all of it.

The Jacksonville center was used for merchandise replenishment of its regional stores.

After the sale, Sears Holdings Corp. said it expected no change in operations after selling the warehouse April 5, 2018, to LBA Realty. A spokesman said Sears would continue to operate the distribution center and lease it from LBA.

Sears Holdings reported in February 2017 it would market and sell at least $1 billion of real estate properties.

The Jacksonville property is next to the more than 1.6 million-square-foot former Sears warehouse at the same address, which is owned by GIV Imeson LLC and leased to several tenants. That large warehouse, called One Imeson, is at 1 Imeson Park Blvd., No. 100.

Sears developed that office-warehouse in 1974 as a catalog sales distribution center but sold it to investors in 1994.

It is not related to the LBA Logistics property.

Sears Holdings Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.

In January, Sears Holdings Corp. announced that ESL Investments Inc. was chosen as the winning bidder in the company's auction. ESL is led by Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert.

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