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FORT BEND COUNTY, TX-The first of three shuttered Kmart stores in Fort Bend County has been sold to a San Antonio investor, who is turning the 84,000-sf building into an indoor flea market. Another closed store has leases pending and the third is up for sale or lease.

Paul Covey, president of Ithaca Investment Inc., tells GlobeSt.com that some minor rehab work will be done, but doors will open Sept. 1 at 445 FM 1092. Covey has done similar projects with other big boxes in South Texas.

The 23-year-old building, sitting on eight acres, is assessed at $569,380 by the Fort Bend County Appraisal District. Covey acquired the property from an institutional investor in a deal brokered by Monty Tinkham, owner of Monty Tinkham Properties in Houston.

Mary Doetterl, the office and market research manager for the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Corp, says leases are pending for the 108,253-sf Kmart at 2745 Town Center in Sugar Land and a 188,000-sf location at 28000 Southwest Freeway in Rosenberg is up for sale or lease. Weingarten Realty Trust of Houston owns the Sugar Land site while the Rosenberg building is a Kmart-owned property being marketed by Gerry Severson of Continental Properties of Milwaukee.

Doetterl says she’s optimistic about the prospects for the Rosenberg building even though the city had 118,418 sf of negative absorption at midyear, with vacancy riding at 30%. Just six months earlier, vacancy was 19% and absorption, 81,266 sf to the good.

Despite the present numbers, Rosenberg is viewed up-and-coming town where existing retailers are expanding and newcomers are looking. Palais Royal relocated into 36,000 sf from 17,000 sf, which was immediately backfilled by Burke’s Outlet. “Lowe’s is looking in Rosenberg and Wal-Mart is looking for a second store location,” she adds. “It is also rumored that Target is looking to put one of its superstore formats in Rosenberg.

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