The former Mall at Sears is receiving a new name and a new tenant, as outfitter REI confirmed its move there from Spenard reported by KTVA last month.

REI spokeswoman Caitlin Goettler said the Anchorage store is indeed going to be relocating eastward along Northern Lights Boulevard, from the Northern Lights Center off Spenard Road to the newly renamed Midtown Mall off Benson Boulevard. The new store, currently undergoing renovations, is expected to hold a grand opening early next year.

Goettler said the new location’s 48,000 square feet, last occupied by a Carrs Safeway grocery store, offers the co-op more space than its current location. REI's Outdoor School programs will have a dedicated space at the Midtown Mall.

“This new location will offer significant improvements to the customer experience including a refreshed look and an open layout, as well as increased parking for cars, and indoor parking for bikes,” Goettler wrote.

An architectural rendering of REI's new store at the Midtown Mall, set to open in early 2019. (Credit: Courtesy REI)

A full statement from REI touted its history in Anchorage, dating back to a local catalog store in 1979 and grants from REI which have helped fund local trail expansions. After opening a Fairbanks location in 2014, the co-op has more than 77,000 members in Alaska -- almost 56,000 of them in Anchorage.

“REI has been in Anchorage for nearly 40 years, and we have continued to grow as this community has grown. We’ve undergone numerous expansions in our current space and are excited to move to a location that can further support our commitment to life outdoors for Alaskans and all of our visiting adventurers,” Mike Herzog, manager of the Anchorage REI, said in the statement. “We were instrumental in helping rebuild and improve the Spenard neighborhood, and much of the community here has grown around us. Our goal is to do the same through our new location in the Midtown Mall.”

An architectural rendering of REI's new store at the Midtown Mall, set to open in early 2019. (Credit: Courtesy REI)

Mall spokeswoman Linda Boggs said REI’s lease was finalized Monday.

The Midtown Mall’s rename is the latest step in its transformation after losing its namesake department store earlier this year. Part of the former Sears space on the mall’s east end has been occupied by a Nordstrom Rack, with a smaller Carrs Safeway and a Guitar Center slated to occupy the rest of that area.

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