Homart Development Company

Homart Development Company, a Chicago-based subsidiary of Sears, was one of the largest builders of shopping centers and malls in the United States from 1959 to 1995.

Company history

As retail development in the United States shifted away from downtowns with the growth of suburbia after World War II, some major department stores such as Sears moved into the business of developing malls in which to place new anchor tenant locations.[1] Homart Development Company was founded in 1959 for the purpose of building regional shopping malls for Sears.[2] The "Homart" brand name had been used by Sears for many years before the development company was founded.[3]

Seminary South Shopping Center in Fort Worth was their first project.[4][5]

By 1971, Homart was operating nine regional shopping locations, and had numerous others in development.[6] It became the nation's second largest mall developer,[7] and by 1992 it was reported that Homart had developed 80 malls with over 75,000,000 square feet (7,000,000 m2) of retail space.[8] By 1994, it was also operating 36 of those developed malls.[9]

In November 1994, Sears announced that it planned to sell off Homart as part of a restructuring.[10] General Growth Properties completed an acquisition of Homart in late 1995 in a transaction valued at $1.85 billion, then one of the biggest real estate deals in history.[11][12][13] Homart also owned a number of office buildings which were also sold in 1995.[14]


Sears executive Emory Williams was the first president of Homart. (He later became chairman and CEO of Sears in the mid 1970s.) Warren G. Skoning was appointed president in 1967,[15] and elected as chairman in 1974.[16] Also serving as vice-president of real estate development for Sears, Skoning was involved in the development of the Sears Tower.[17][18][19] W.E. Lewis was named president in 1974 when Skoning became chair.[16]

Edwin Homer, former president of Chrysler Realty, joined as president in 1980, later became chair and CEO, and served until his retirement in 1984.[20][21][22] Homer diversified Homart's portfolio by developing office properties and community centers, in addition to malls, and also sold some of Homart's malls to generate additional profit for Sears.[21]

In 1985, Michael J. Gregoire was named president and COO, and he also became chairman in 1987.[23][24]

Notable projects

Notable shopping centers developed by Homart include:

Mall name Town State Notes Year opened
Seminary South Shopping Center Fort Worth Texas An open-air mall which opened in March 1962. It was sold by Homart in 1985. It was renovated and enclosed, and reopened as the Fort Worth Town Center in 1987,[25][26][27][28][29] and then as "La Gran Plaza" in 2004.[30] 1962
Hancock Shopping Center Austin Texas 1964[27]
Coronado Center Albuquerque New Mexico 1965[27]
Colonie Center Albany New York First enclosed shopping mall in New York State's Capital Region. 1966[27]
Inland Center San Bernardino(Inland Empire area) California 1966[31]
Midland Mall Warwick Rhode Island Renamed the Rhode Island Mall in March 1985. Closed in 2012. 1967[32]
Woodfield Mall Schaumburg (Chicago metropolitan area) Illinois Joint venture with A. Alfred Taubman, was world's largest enclosed mall at time of opening.[33][34] 1971
Valley View Center Dallas Texas 1973
Metrocenter Phoenix Arizona Joint venture with Westcor[35] 1973
Altamonte Mall Altamonte Springs Florida Jointly developed with Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation[36][37] 1974
Maplewood Mall Maplewood (Minneapolis – Saint Paul area) Minnesota 1974[38]
Westminster Mall Westminster (Orange County) California 1974[39]
Brea Mall Brea (Orange County) California 1975[40]
Northbrook Court Northbrook (Chicago metropolitan area) Illinois 1976
Orland Square Mall Orland Park (Chicago metropolitan area) Illinois 1976
Eden Prairie Center Eden Prairie (Minneapolis – Saint Paul area) Minnesota 1976[41]
Florence Mall Florence (Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky metropolitan area) Kentucky 1976
Woodland Hills Mall Tulsa Oklahoma Expansion completed by Homart in 1982 1976
Burnsville Center Burnsville (Minneapolis – Saint Paul area) Minnesota 1977[38]
Louis Joliet Mall Joliet Illinois Renamed in mid 2000s as Westfield Louis Joliet 1977
Fiesta Mall Mesa (Phoenix metropolitan area) Arizona 1979
Spring Hill Mall West Dundee(Chicago metropolitan area) Illinois 1980
Willowbrook Mall Houston Texas 1981
Tysons Galleria Tysons Corner (Washington Metropolitan Area) Virginia Jointly developed with Lerner Enterprises 1988
Lakeland Square Mall Lakeland Florida Jointly developed with Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation[42] 1988
The Shoppes at Buckland Hills Manchester (Greater Hartford area) Connecticut Opened in March 1990 as "The Pavilions at Buckland Hills". 1990[43]
Steeplegate Mall Concord New Hampshire Opened August 1, 1990[44][45] 1990
Bay City Mall Bay City Michigan Co-developed with Robert B. Aitkens[46] 1991
North Point Mall Alpharetta (Atlanta metropolitan area) Georgia 1993
Natick Collection Natick (Greater Boston) Massachusetts Rebuilding of prior Natick Mall 1994[47]
The Woodlands Mall The Woodlands (Greater Houston) Texas Developed with The Woodlands Corporation 1994[48][49]


  1. White, John R. & Gray, Kevin D. Shopping Centers and Other Retail Properties: Investment, Development, Financing, and Management p.61-62 (1996) (ISBN 978-0471040026)
  2. Suchman, Diane R. Managing a Development Company (Urban Land Institute 1987)("Homart was established in 1959 for the purpose of developing regional shopping malls.")
  3. "Sears advertisement". Milwaukee Journal. August 10, 1945. Retrieved March 7, 2010. (1945 Sears advertisement includes "Homart" products)
  4. "Sears sells Ft. Worth mall to investors". Texas Monthly. December 30, 1985. Retrieved March 7, 2010.("Seminary South was the first shopping center developed by Homart Development")
  5. "Buy buy baby, buy buy". Texas Monthly. April 1981. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  6. "Sears plans record growth". The Palm Beach Post. December 2, 1971. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  7. Jim Steinberg (April 25, 1988). "Developers' move into the stores will shape the future of retailing". The Miami News. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  8. "Mall Backers Want Jobs, Tax Revenue". Lawrence Journal-World. March 6, 1994. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  9. Ford Risley (July 20, 1994). "A Growing Orlando, Fla., to Get 3 More Large Malls". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  10. Barnaby J. Feder (November 11, 1994). "Sears, Returning to Its Roots, Is Giving Up Allstate". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2010.("Sears also said today that it would sell its Homart Development Company, a real estate development firm. ")
  11. Jim Zarroli (April 19, 2009). "Retail Real Estate Braces For Sell-Off". National Public Radio. Retrieved March 7, 2010.("General Growth made a number of high-profile acquisitions of shopping malls in every part of the country. Some of General Growth's biggest included: the $1.85 billion acquisition of Homart Development Co. from Sears Roebuck in 1995, said to be one of the largest real estate transactions in history at the time")
  12. "Sears Negotiating to Sell Its Shopping Mall Properties". The New York Times. June 13, 1995. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  13. Reuters (December 27, 1995). "Sears Completes Sale of Its Homart Unit". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  14. "Sears to Sell Properties to Morgan Stanley". The New York Times. July 6, 1995. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  15. "People and Events". Chicago Tribune. July 23, 1967. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  16. 1 2 "Skoning named chairman of Homart Co.". Chicago Tribune. February 2, 1974. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  17. "Sear's Chicago Building To Be World's Largest". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. December 27, 1969. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  18. Pridmore, Jay. Sears Tower: A Building Book from the Chicago Architecture Foundation p.17 (Pomegranate 2002)(ISBN 978-0764920219)
  19. "Warren G. Skoning, Sears official, dies". Chicago Tribune. February 22, 1980. Retrieved March 22, 2010.("Mr. Skoning was co-chairman of the building committee for Sears Tower and had much of the responsibility for the construction of the mammoth skyscraper...")
  20. Sasha M. Pardy (December 17, 2007). "Retail Real Estate Development Veteran, Edwin Homer, Passes". CoStar's Retail News Roundup. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  21. 1 2 Anna Robaton (January 2008). "Edwin Homer, Artistic Developer, Dead at 91". Shopping Centers Today (ICSC). Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  22. Kowinski, William Severini. The Malling of America (2000 ed.) (ISBN 978-1401036768)(Kowinski incorrectly identifies Homer as "Ernest," but notes his appearance at an ICSC conference in the early 1980s: "There was affable Ernest Homer, head of Homart, the developing arm of Sears — the largest retailer and biggest advertiser in the country — who handed out a business card that was also bigger than anyone else's.")
  23. "Homart Selects M.J. Gregoire New President". Chicago Tribune. October 23, 1985. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  24. "Homart Elects President". Chicago Tribune. February 26, 1987. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  25. Donna Steph Hansard (April 5, 1986). "Seminary South Redo Planned". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  26. "FW Mall's Renovation Completed". The Dallas Morning News. August 28, 1987. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  27. 1 2 3 4 "Sears Will Open 41 New Stores". Evening Independent. March 31, 1965. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  28. "Survival of the Fittest: Malls develop new battle plans to fight off declining market share in an increasingly competitive environment". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. November 24, 1997. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  29. Husna Haq (August 31, 2009). "Ethnic malls are buzzing". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  30. Tinsley, Anna M. (December 21, 2005). "Group proposes buying Mercado for $2.5 million". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  31. Imran Ghori (April 13, 2009). "Plan for Carousel Mall is latest in long effort to revive San Bernardino". The Press-Enterprise (California). Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  32. "Sale Closing Nears for Rhode Island Mall". The Providence Journal. December 4, 1997. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  33. Myers, Linnet (September 6, 1983). "Woodfield is still reigning as king of the malls". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  34. Nagelberg, Alvin (September 13, 1971). "Woodfield Mall: Land Price Boom". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 14, 2010.("Woodfield Mall, the world's largest shopping center, opened last week in Schaumburg, 25 miles northwest of Chicago")
  35. Jarman, Max (March 3, 2010). "Westcor abandoning Metocenter mall". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  36. "Sears sells Homart's office buildings to private partnership". Orlando Sentinel. July 9, 1995. Retrieved March 23, 2010. ("In Central Florida, Homart developed Altamonte Mall and is building the West Oaks Mall")
  37. "Mall developer has bigger plans". Evening Independent. October 26, 1972. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  38. 1 2 "Two developers compete for contract to build mall at I-494 and Lafayette". St. Paul Pioneer Press. August 4, 1994. Retrieved March 6, 2010.("Homart has developed Burnsville Center, the Eden Prairie Mall and the Maplewood Mall, as well as power centers throughout the nation")
  39. Terrence M. Green (August 4, 1974). "$23-Million Westminster Mall to Open". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  40. "Brea Mall Whoops It Up For Grand Opening!". Orange Coast Magazine. September 1977. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  41. "General Growth Properties Announces Shopping Mall Acquisition". PR Newswire. June 26, 1997. Retrieved March 6, 2010.("Eden Prairie Center opened in 1976 and was substantially remodeled in 1989.")
  42. Brad Kuhn (May 8, 1995). "NEW MALL BRINGS DEVELOPER BACK HOMART TEAMED UP ON VARIOUS PROJECTS". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 23, 2010.("Homart teamed up with DeBartolo again for Lakeland Square Mall, which opened in 1988.")
  43. Eleanor Charles (April 22, 1990). "A Shopping Mall Opens East of Hartford". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  44. "Concord Heights To Get Mall Aug. 1". The Boston Globe. July 8, 1990. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  45. Carolina M. Mata (August 5, 1990). "In Concord, a New Mall and High Hopes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  46. "Stores: the bulletin of the N.R.D.G.A.,". National Retail Dry Goods Association. 74 (7-12). 1992.
  47. Gregerson, John (April 1, 1995). "Vintage mall vaults forward - and back". Building Design & Construction. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  48. John Schmeltzer (August 8, 1994). "Mall Developer Quietly Keeps Building". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 11, 2010.("This year alone, Homart will open the 1 million-square-foot Woodlands Mall in Woodland, Texas...")
  49. Kutchin, Joseph W. How Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. Got Its Start and How It Grew: An Oral History and Narrative Overview (2001) p.542-47 (ISBN 978-1581126631)
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