HOUSTON-A 134,465-sf build-to-suit for Sears’ Great Indoors will emerge from a yearlong marketing as a Garden Ridge Pottery location. The locally based hobby and arts and crafts retailer has signed a 15-year lease for the Willowbrook site in the northwest submarket.

Situated on 10.8 acres at 12606 Gessner Rd., the former Great Indoors has been on the market since 2003 for $8 million. “Garden Ridge said they’d be happy to lease so we went down that path,” says H. Dean Lane, partner with NewQuest Properties in Houston, who represented the building’s owner, Chicago-based Sears Roebuck & Co. “The building didn’t generate a whole lot of activity as a sale.” The lease consideration wasn’t readily available, but the asking rate for long-term leases in the area can range from $19 per sf to $23 per sf.

The one-time Great Indoors location closed in late 2003, three years after it opened. “It’s been vacant since then,” Lane says, estimating its down time is pushing 14 months. Garden Ridge has started retooling the building so the store can be open before the year ends. “Sears just leased it to Garden Ridge on an as-is basis,” NewQuest associate Matt Reed says, “and they’re renovating it to fit what they need.” Darin Gosda of Betz Cos. in Houston represented Garden Ridge Corp.

Lane says Garden Ridge’s execs first approached NewQuest about the building’s availability “while they were coming out of bankruptcy,” Lane says. “We’ve been courting each other for the past 14 months, trying to make a deal.”

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