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July 15, 2021 - 5:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kmart, Henderson development, news, video, batavia.
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An alarm that sounds like an old rotary dial telephone was sounding off this afternoon from the back of the former Kmart building on Lewiston Road, Town of Batavia. 

A dispatcher said people have been calling about it for days.

The registered owner of the property is 570 DAB 30 LLC. The LLC is registered at the same address as Benderson Development, which is also the leasing agent for the property.

570 DAB acquired the property in March 2020 from the Williamington Trust Company for $1,757,000. The assessed value of the property $2,260,000.

Kmart pulled out of Batavia and left behind the vacant hulk of a building in 2018.

We're attempting to get information from Benderson about the unending alarm.

September 15, 2019 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, video, batavia, Kmart.
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During last night's Sire Stakes at Batavia Downs, Western OTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said another company is under contract to purchase the former Kmart location on Lewiston Road, which sits across Park Road from the southern end of the race track.

Western OTB had been interested in acquiring the property to convert into a multi-use facility -- concerts, sporting events, convention center.

Wojtaszek said WOTB doesn't know the name of the potential purchasers, which is conducting due diligence on the acquisition now, but if the deal does not go through, he said, Batavia Downs has been assured it can bid again.

If the deal does go through, Wojtaszek said the purchaser is a company Batavia Downs can work with.

October 16, 2018 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kmart, Batavia Downs, batavia, news, notify.

For the third time in 13 months, Batavia is losing a big box store -- Office Max; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and now Kmart -- and given the nation's retail trends, it's by no means certain any of these vacant buildings will be filled any time soon.

The last time a big box closed prior to this spate of going-out-of-business sales, it took the landlord only a year to replace Lowe's with Dick's Sporting Goods and Kohl's Department Store but since then e-commerce sales have grown to represent 8 percent of all retail sales (Lowe's announced its closure seven years ago today).

It's also become harder for Industrial Development Agencies in New York, such as Genesee County Economic Development Center, to offer incentives for retail development.

Still, Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, is optimistic none of these big buildings will sit vacant long. He's a Batavia native and has seen a lot of businesses come and go.

"I call it the business circle of life," Turnbull said.

Turnbull remembers when Kmart was located where Aldi is now, and he remembers Twin Fair where the Department of Social Services is now and Valu Home Store in what is now County Building #2. He remembers W.T. Grant at the corner of Harvester and East Main and when Eli Fish Co. was Newberry's.

"It's the ebb and flow of business," Turnbull said. "You never know what is going to happen, especially with these big national retailers. It will fill up again and then it may be empty again."

There have been rumors, which Turnbull has heard, too, that Batavia Downs is interested in the Kmart property.

"It makes a lot of sense for them to have that property," Turnbull said. "It would be good for them and it would be good for us -- it's not unusual for big box stores to sit empty for a long time and become a real eyesore so it would be great for Batavia Downs to come in and swoop it up. It would be good for everybody."

Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs, said in a statement this morning that, "While we do not currently have any timeline information on the store’s closing, we would not rule out an interest in this or any adjacent property to Batavia Downs if it were to become available. Regardless of what happens with the property, we will reach out to Kmart management for some job placement opportunities at Batavia Downs for Kmart employees that will be impacted with a layoff."

The Kmart store is 115,554 square feet and sits on 10.3 acres. The total assessment is $4.1 million, according to county records. The store was built in 1994. The listed owner is Wilmington Trust Company.

Wilmington Trust is affiliated with M&T Bank and specializes in, among other things, acting as administrator for properties held in trust. A trust is a legal entity that holds title to a property for the benefit of another person or group of people, such as heirs to an estate.

While Wilmington Trust is listed as the property owner, Wilmington is strictly and administrator of the property for the beneficiary of the trust, said spokesman Kent Wissinger. The beneficiary is the actual owner and has sole discretion on whether to sell or retain the property.

There is no information available on who is the beneficiary of the trust.

How any potential sale of the property might be handled, Wissinger said, is subject to the terms of the trust and he said he didn't have access to that information.

County records seem to indicate the trust has held title to the property since at least 1994.

Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp., which declared bankruptcy after years of financial struggles, has not announced a closing date for the store.

October 15, 2018 - 4:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia, news, Kmart.

The Kmart on Lewiston Road in Batavia is one of 142 stores owned by Sears Holdings Corp. to be shuttered by year's end. Liquidation sales are expected to begin soon.

The manager of the Batavia store, located at 8363 Lewiston Road, referred us to a corporate spokesman but we have been unsuccessful in contacting him to find out how many local employees will be out of a job.

There are about 700 stores currently open, down from 3,453 stores in 2005 when Kmart Holding Co. bought and merged with Sears Roebuck & Co. in a cash and stock deal then valued at $11 billion. The new entity became Sears Holdings Corp.

Sears Holdings has filed for bankruptcy and plans to reorganize its massive debt and reemerge on more solid ground. It reported liabilities of $11.3 billion and assets of $7 billion. A $134 million debt payment was due that it could not make at the time of filing.

Under the safety net of Chapter 11, Sears Holdings will be able to remain open through the holidays while striving to square away its finances.

But retail business analysts say returning to a position of strength and relevance will be difficult to do. Since the hoopla surrounding the merger in 2005, the parent company has struggled with anemic sales, crippling debt and shifts in consumer spending, especially the juggernaut of e-commerce. 

One advantage e-commerce formerly enjoyed was not having to collect sales tax. But over the years, most U.S. states passed online shopping sales tax laws. Even so, about half of all Amazon.com purchases, for example, are sold on its Amazon Marketplace through third-party vendors, and these purchases remain tax free (with the exception of Washington state).

More to the point, critics say Sears Holdings Corp. is not faring well because it has not reinvested in decaying stores; and it sold off iconic brands like Craftsman tools without giving consumers new brands and incentives to buy. The down slide has been going on for so long, they say, the retailer has become irrelevant and consumers are moving on.

Sears Roebuck & Co. started in 1886 and was able to grow by leaps and bounds thanks to its the proliferation of its mail-order catalog business, using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver goods from its Chicago warehouse to growing suburbs and the hinterlands beyond them. For generations of American families, stores coast to coast sold everything to everybody -- studio portraits and Goodyear tires, Kenmore stoves and Craftsman tools, home goods and engagement rings.

And the "Blue Light Specials" of its once-feisty rival Kmart are pure Americana. A store associate would announce a hot deal over the loudspeaker by saying: "Attention Kmart shoppers..." and the blue lightbulb would flash and for the next 30 minutes, say, there would be a deal in the Shoe Department on bags of tube socks.

"It's always sad to see a local business close," Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull told our news partner WBTA late this afternoon, adding that Kmart has been in Batavia a long time and he remembers when it was at the other end of town.

"But that's the circle of life," Turnbull said. "Others will step up and take its place."

August 24, 2017 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kmart, batavia, business, news.

Kmart in Batavia has again dodged the budget cutting ax of parent company Sears, as the 124-year-old retail giant continues to see sales revenue drop across the country.

This morning, Sears announced that it's closing 28 Kmart locations, but the Batavia store is not on the list.

In July, Sears announced it was closing 35 locations, and neither Kmart nor the local Sears outlet made the list. In all, the company has closed 180 locations in the past year.

The announcement after Sears made its latest revenue report to stockholders, revealing an 11.7-percent drop in sales on a same-store basis. The company lost $251 million for the quarter.

In March, another legendary retail chain, JCPenney, announced it was closing stores across the nation, but Batavia's store was not on the list. 

Kohl's Department Stores has also been struggling with declining retail sales, but that company's CEO said that rather than close stores, it will shrink existing stores.

August 7, 2013 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Kmart.

A person has managed to get a TV out of Kmart without paying for it, load it in a black pickup truck and then head down Park Road toward the Thruway.

Local law enforcement responding. The Thruway Authority is being notified.

There are two white males in the truck.

UPDATE 8:57 p.m.: A truck has been stopped with a 46" LED TV in the bed.

August 18, 2008 - 10:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart.

Tonight I am reading, as I have been for the past three nights, Bill Kauffman's Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette.

I come to this passage, related to the rising of Wal-Mart in Batavia:

My voice is as mute as the others in that silent night, unholy night. I supposed I am of the old  school of Thoreau and Emerson in that I distrust political solutions and prefer individual revolutions of the soul. I sympathized with those townspeople who wished to keep Wal-Mart out. But instead of passing laws to compel behavior I would rather my neighbors choose to shop locally. They will only do so when Batavia becomes once more a city with its own flavor and fashions. Whether that day will come, I do not know.

For me, if The Batavian can accomplish one thing, it will be to give voice to the people who want Batavia to be Batavia again.

I'm no Pollyanna. I know we cannot put the Brylcreem back in the tube, or unwind the the movie or rebuild C.L. Carr's, but we can promote an ideal that a rural town like Batavia should be more than bathroom break on the Thruway.

We have our corporate sponsors, which means that if the heavens opened up and Wal-Mart or Kmart decided to bequeath to us some ungodly sum of money for advertising (not likely, ever), we couldn't say no, but we are here first and foremost to support the businesses that support Batavia (and the rest of Genesee County).

We only ask one thing -- that you do the same. Before your next trip to Wal-Mart or Target, find out what local shop can do you the same service and patronize that store first.

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