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Andrea Olshan Departs Top Job At Family Company To Lead Sears REIT Spinoff

Andrea Olshan, seen speaking at a Bisnow event in 2017

Andrea Olshan is leaving her post as head of her family company and stepping into a major challenge.

Olshan has stepped down as CEO of Olshan Properties, which her father, Mort Olshan, founded in 1959, the company announced in a press release on Monday. On Tuesday, Olshan was announced as the new CEO and president of Seritage Growth Properties. She will also chair Olshan Properties' board of directors going forward.

Olshan worked at her family company for 17 years, the last nine as CEO, overseeing a portfolio that grew to 23M SF. 

The head role at Seritage opened up when Benjamin Schall left in December, having served as CEO since the company's founding, to take the same position at multifamily REIT AvalonBay Communities.

Seritage Growth Properties was formed in 2015 when Sears Holdings spun off a large part of its real estate portfolio to raise capital. Sears then-chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Partners, financed the transaction for $2.7B, making Lampert chairman of Seritage's board as well. While Sears floundered into bankruptcy, Seritage blossomed by re-leasing some vacated Sears stores and redeveloping others as part of mixed-use projects.

Seritage's growth has been stunted by the coronavirus pandemic and the recession it caused, its portfolio mostly vacant but with only a few redevelopment projects underway, Real Estate Weekly reports.

Lampert stepped down as Sears CEO in 2018 and resigned as chairman in 2019 when Sears entered bankruptcy proceedings, fighting lawsuits from Sears shareholders and lenders on the way out. Lampert and ESL Holdings formed a new company, Transform Holdco, to buy most of Sears' remaining assets out of bankruptcy, which also produced a lawsuit and settlement. Lampert remains chairman of Seritage.

Rather than name a replacement for Olshan, Olshan Properties will be splitting her duties between Zachary Bornstein and Michael Odell. Bornstein and Odell had both previously held titles of senior managing director of capital markets. Bornstein will serve as president, and Odell has been named executive managing director, head of investments and capital markets.