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Greenfield hopes developers see Kmart as a blue-light special

Officials are optimistic old site's 27th Street location will attract interest

Sears Holdings has announced the closure of the Kmart stores on 27th Street in Greenfield. Liquidation is now under way.

Sears Holdings has announced the closure of the Kmart stores on 27th Street in Greenfield. Liquidation is now under way.

Jan. 28, 2014

Greenfield — City officials are dismayed over the pending closure of the local Kmart, but they have acknowledged the need for, and are optimistic about, the site's eventual redevelopment.

A liquidation sale is already in progress, with a mid-April closing anticipated.

"We hate to see any business close," said Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke, who nonetheless described the store as a "tired site."

Neitzke added that the site's location has strong points. "It's an attractive site with good visibility and traffic counts," he said.

But redevelopment could take a while in today's real estate market, he acknolwedged.

Kmart has been at 4601 S. 27th St. at least since 1970, said Chuck Erickson, economic development director, adding that redevelopment effort would benefit the neighborhood

"This gives us the opportunity to freshen the whole corner," Erickson said.

"Clearly, it's a prime piece of real estate," he agreed. "We certainly believe it will garner a lot of attention."

The zoning is broad and flexible, calling for mixed uses, Erickson said. Whether the city would like one use rather than another is still undetermined.

"We have not arrived at any conclusion," Erickson said.

The Greenfield store has 107 employees, according to a press release from Sears Holdings, which owns the Kmarts. Most are part-time employees, Howard Riefs, spokesman for Sears Holdings, said in the release.

The Greenfield store is one of three in Wisconsin currently pegged for closure. The others are in Hales Corners, just south of Greenfield, and Portage. The West Allis and Wauwatosa stores in the region remain open, at least for now. Sears Holdings has been paring both Kmarts and Sears stores in recent years as it struggles with lost sales.

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