The former Sears anchor store space at the Charleston Town Center has a buyer.
KM Hotels will close on its purchase of the Sears space Wednesday, said Mayur Patel, president of the Richmond, Virginia-based hotel developer and manager. KM Hotels intends to demolish the Sears building and build a self-standing, Hilton-branded hotel, he said.
The hotel’s opening is “still far out,” Patel said, but the deal has been in the works for quite some time. He estimated that the hotel is about two years away from opening, and construction will take 15 months of that total.
KM Hotels and Hilton haven’t yet settled on what type of Hilton-branded hotel will be on the property, Patel said. He would not disclose the terms of the purchase from Sears.
The company is still hashing out the hotel design and is considering off-site parking options, Patel said. It pursued the Sears space because of its proximity to the Charleston Civic Center, he said. The proximity to the mall is an added bonus, he said.
KM Hotels has developed hotels throughout the country, including Days Inn, Knights Inn and Microtel Inn & Suites hotels in Charleston.
The Sears store closed in April 2017, one of several across the United States the retail giant has shuttered of late. Earlier that year, mall owners and city officials said they were open to several options to fill the space, as long as a business moved in sooner rather than later.
KM Hotels previously planned to buy the former Holley Hotel space on Quarrier Street, owned by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, to build a Homewood Suites by Hilton. That deal fell through in October 2015.
“The issue over there was the site and cost,” Patel said. “This one we have more options for branding and things, because the Holley site wasn’t the best site. This site ... I think it’s probably the best site in town, truthfully, from what we know about Charleston.”
A Sears spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.