Monday, May 3, 2010

Bringing the First Sears Building Back to Life

Evansville is blessed to be the city where the first Sears retail outlet located outside of a mail order city was erected.

Located at the corner of 4th & Sycamore Streets, Sears first opened its doors in building in 1925 but ended up closing their doors in 1975. The building has since been renovated and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today the building sits mostly empty but its potential is vast. In a previous post, I talked about the need to convert the Old Greyhound Bus Station lot and the two other empty lots next to it into a mall with a museum alley next to it. This plan is very similar to Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis. If implemented, this plan would improve downtown Evansville significantly. The plan would also help revitalize the Sears building too.

My vision for the Sears Building is this:

1. Remodel the building

2. Add a skywalk to the mall that would be constructed across the street

3. Place a Sears back in the building

4. Open up a small Sears museum next to the Sears retail store

Assuming a mall would be built across the street, this vision would do two things. It would reinforce the idea of retail in that area, and it would reinforce the idea of a museum alley in that area. To me, the history of having the first Sears retail outlet is just to valuable to waste.

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