Six months after declining to renew its lease with Kmart, the Salt Lake City-based company that owns the large retail plaza near Missoula’s Brooks and Reserve street intersection has terminated its lease with the only remaining tenant.
Montana Homefitters furniture store began a closing sale Thursday and will continue to operate only until everything is sold, store general manager Brett Baisden said.
In June, plaza owner Woodbury Corp. declined to extend a lease with the Missoula Kmart’s parent company, Sears Holding Corp.
The store closed in September.
“Sometime in the fall, the discussion started with the landlord that they did not want to have me in here,” Baisden said.
The contract termination agreement was reached amicably, but Woodbury gave no reasons for initiating the process, Baisden said.
Woodbury president Randy Woodbury declined to comment Friday on tenancy issues – or on his future plans for the property and any prospective tenants.
Montana Homefitters won’t reopen in a different location because Baisden hasn’t been able to find a suitable relocation venue. About six employees will be out of jobs, Baisden said.
The store has around 30 houses’ worth of furniture to sell. As of Friday, all inventory was 25 percent off, Baisden said.
A definite closing date has not been set.
Woodbury said in July that the property was underutilized with Kmart as a tenant. At the time, he said he would like to incorporate Homefitters into the space when it was revamped and that the company had “zeroed” in on a new retail tenant.
On Friday, Woodbury said the company continues to work with possible tenants but cannot discuss details.
“I was so hoping we’d have all this stuff signed and sealed and delivered by now, but we don’t,” he said.
Based in Salt Lake City, Woodbury Corp. is a 92-year-old real estate business that manages retail, office and hotel properties in seven Western states. The 115,000-square-foot plaza on Brooks Street was built by Woodbury in 1973.
It’s the only Missoula property owned by Woodbury, which also owns University Shopping Square in Bozeman.
Baisden has heard the rumors about possible new tenants – including a Kohl’s clothing and home goods store and discount grocery store Winco Foods – but hasn’t seen any evidence to suggest anyone new is moving in.
“I’m here every day all the time. If those people were going to come here, I’d see them come check out the place,” Baisden said. “I’m not sure what’s going on.”
Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.