Sears is taking a creative approach to the consolidation of many of their retail locations, as they plan to repurpose them and turn them into data centers, disaster relief hubs and more.
The company has started shutting down their Sears and Kmart locations as they want to become a more profitable business.
But all of those stores result in a lot of unused square footage.
"It's an amazing real estate portfolio. The goal is not to sell off properties. It's to reposition the assets of this iconic brand. The big idea is that you have a technology platform laid atop a retail footprint, creating the possibility for a product with a very different look to it," Sears Holdings' Ubiquity Critical Enivironments Chief Operating Officer Sean Farney said.
They have already begun the process of repurposing many locations, including a 127,000 square foot location on the south side of Chicago.
They plan to make that space into a data center. They already have one client committed to using the facility.
"It's a building that's lit very well, from both a fiber and power perspective. It's going to be a great data center building," Farney said.
Farney believes many people will take advantage of the Sears data centers because of their locations.
"There are compelling reasons why this is a great model. The customer has evolved to the point where they want a sexier location, where they can have access to a Starbucks and other retail, because it's possible they may be there for weeks or months. Sears and Kmart stores are located in just such retail locations in major malls."
They will also rent rooftops at approved locations for cellular tower providers.
Around 70 percent of all Americans live within a 10 mile radius of a Sears or Kmart, so the extra towers will be beneficial for many.