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Sears Owner Proposes 800-Unit Redevelopment Of Vacant Bowie Town Center Store

The Sears at Bowie Town Center
The Sears at Bowie Town Center.

The site of a vacant Sears department store in Prince George's County is being eyed for a mixed-use development.

Seritage Growth Properties, the spinoff REIT that operates Sears' real estate portfolio, filed rezoning applications seeking up to 800 units on the 10.8-acre site of the vacant store at Bowie Town Center. 

The store closed last year, and Seritage previously indicated it planned a mixed-use development. Last week it unveiled new details in a public presentation. Seritage said the project could include up to 800 multifamily units, retail and office uses, plus a potential hotel of up to 150 rooms.

Seritage representatives presented the plans last week to a virtual stakeholder meeting, which the Bowie city government posted on YouTube. The team has another Bowie public meeting scheduled Tuesday night, and the Prince George's County Planning Board has a meeting on the application scheduled July 16. 

Shipley & Horne partner Rob Antonetti, the owner's land-use attorney, said the team has four rezoning processes it must complete before beginning construction. During last week's meeting, he estimated a groundbreaking could take place in two to three years. 

"We think introducing a residential component in addition to the retail offerings here is a fantastic opportunity to leverage all of the existing uses that are at Bowie Town Center ... and to bring a new mixed-use anchor to help revitalize and re-energize this portion of the retail core of Bowie Town Center," Antonetti said.

A map of Bowie Town Center showing Seritage's proposed redevelopment site outlined in red.
A map of Bowie Town Center showing Seritage's proposed redevelopment site outlined in red.

The Bowie Town Center mall sits just off Route 50 near the interchange with MD 197, about 7 miles outside the Beltway. The 274-acre mall property, owned by multiple companies, has open stores including Macy's, Safeway, Best Buy and several smaller retailers.

The 10.8-acre Sears property includes the two-story department store building, which Antonetti said would be demolished, plus a surface parking lot and the stand-alone BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, which he said would remain open. Seritage Development consultant Rob Ursini estimated another three restaurants could open as part of the redevelopment. 

Ursini said the owner of the main retail portion of Bowie Town Center, Washington Prime Group, has expressed initial support for Seritage moving forward with a redevelopment.

"I would envision them being supportive through the project and seeing, as opposed to an empty Sears building, seeing some life and vibrancy at this end of the center," Ursini said.