VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Sears is closing its flagship Pacific Centre store in downtown Vancouver, along with locations in Calgary and Ottawa.

Sears Canada is selling back the leases to the landlord, Cadillac Fairview, for $170 million. The doors will close at all three locations by October 31st.

Other Sears stores around Metro Vancouver are not affected.

In a statement, Sears says it had not planned to close the stores, but “the transaction for these three specific locations provides an attractive financial benefit for the company,” which will allow the retailer to drive growth in other areas and refresh other stores.

The closures come as Sears works to revamp its struggling Canadian operations. Last month, the company announced plans to cut about 400 jobs across the country as it closes in-store cafes. About 70 employees were laid off in Sears Canada’s head office last year.

Sears Canada shares jumped nearly five per cent on the Toronto stock market after the announcement.

What will replace the downtown Sears?

Urban planner Michael Geller has two ideas for new tenants for the building. One option satisfies fashion lovers.

“Many of us would love to see Nordstrom in Vancouver. This would be a great space for Nordstrom if they have any appetite to move here,” he suggests.

The other option Geller sees is using it as extra space for the Vancouver Art Gallery with a bridge connection above Howe Street.

“I did serve on the expansion committee a number of years ago; some well-known architects from the United States did identify that as a potential solution,” says Geller, noting the Sears lease was so long, the idea was dropped.

“Most people in Vancouver would love to see something that would remove that big, ugly white wall,” Geller believes. “I  don’t think it’s realistic to see it torn down, although another option could be a significant reconfiguration.”