Former Sears building set for demolition after long delay
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After a nearly two-year delay, the former Sears Department Store building at the Charleston Town Center property is set for demolition.
The City of Charleston finally approved a demolition permit after a long dispute between the owner of the Sears property, Quarrier Street LLC, and the new owner of the mall, Hull Property Group, that was the subject of a lawsuit filed in February.
The Sears Department Store closed in 2017 and has since been set for redevelopment as a hotel by Quarrier Street LLC. The Sears Automotive building across the street from the department store was demolished in 2019 after being purchased by Poca Valley Bank.
In the February lawsuit, Quarrier Street LLC claimed it has been asking the Hull Property Group to sign-off on the demolition permit for six months. Hull Property Group had refused, citing an unwritten and informal policy which allowed it to veto Quarrier Street LLC’s property rights and development plans.
City Attorney Kevin Baker said in a statement that the permit was approved after Quarrier Street LLC, “presented an application for a demolition permit that satisfied the requirements that the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia set forth in Birchfield v. Zen’s Dev., LLC, 245 W. Va. 82 (2021).” Baker did not mention why the permit was delayed, but added the city expects the pending lawsuit to be dismissed.
Following this ruling, demolition contractor Rodney Loftis said he expects to begin tearing down the Sears building by July 1, and the demolition process will take up to three months. Loftis was first hired for the project more than two years ago, and has long had large banners with his company’s name hanging on the building.
Loftis told WSAZ it’s relieving to finally have the permits approved. He expects it to be a big job, but said it will not impact the Town Center because the Sears building is separate.
WSAZ reached out to KM Hotels, the parent company of Quarrier Street LLC, for comment on the status of the hotel project. The company’s vice president of construction and development did not immediately return our calls or emails about where the development stands.
The KM Hotels website does currently list a property in Charleston as a Homewood Suites by Hilton. However, the website does not include any details of the hotel, specific renderings or opening dates.
Charleston Building Commissioner Tony Harmon said his department has not received any construction plans or permit requests yet. They only have the demolition plans on file, which allows the site to be cleared.
WSAZ also reached out to Hull Property Group for this story. A spokesperson has not responded to our request.
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