Bloomberg | The historic Chicago headquarters of America’s department store will soon be housing.
Sears Roebuck & Co. broke ground on a million-square-foot campus on Chicago’s West Side in 1905. For the next seven decades, the 14-story clock tower served as headquarters for a retail empire that became synonymous with middle-class America. In 1973, the corporate giant, which once sold everything from pliers to entire kit Sears Catalog Homes, decamped for an eponymous 1,450-foot skyscraper that was once the tallest building in the world.
The years since then, however, have not been as kind.
Now part of Sears Holdings Corp., the company has since merged with Kmart. It has shed billions of dollars in sales, accumulated a mountain of losses, and is selling off pieces of its once-sprawling empire just to survive. Even the Sears tower has been renamed after an insurance broker. The West Side property, meanwhile, became a relic of its former glory, marked by a facade of boarded-up windows on one old building that concealed rooms filled with trash, peeling paint, and rusted lights.