Salem’s JCPenney building sold, will be turned into smaller retail spaces

Nick Williams, commercial real estate adviser, stands in a back storeroom at the vacant JCPenney store in downtown Salem on Monday, Nov. 23. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

For the first time since the early 1900s, the JCPenney building in downtown Salem is changing hands.

Lindquist Development Company bought the building, which was on the market for $4.7 million but ultimately sold for $2.9 million.

Nick Williams, a commercial adviser with SVN Commercial Advisors LLC which represented the Nelson family selling the building, said there are plans for a substantial redevelopment that will transform the three-story building into smaller retail spaces between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet each.

He said the developer, Stu Lindquist, is working with an engineer to determine if there’s a way to add as much glass to the outside of the building as possible.

“Just to see how open it can be,” he said.

Lindquist’s company owns several buildings in Portland, including one leased by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a Tesla service center.

Last June, JCPenney announced it would end its run in the city as part of a nationwide closure of 154 stores.

The company set up shop in Salem in 1917 and later became part of a constellation of major national retailers that anchored Salem Center.

Nationally, retailers have been closing locations as more shoppers move online and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Williams said regional retailers will be recruited for the space, instead of big box stores.

He said it could even house office space and is hopeful a small grocer makes it into downtown.

Williams said none of the information he’s seen indicated the developer plans to tear down the building.

He said the downtown development is fueled by similar investments in the area, pointing to the redevelopment of the former Nordstrom building into apartments.

“The north end of downtown Salem five years from now is going to look very, very different than it does currently,” he said.

This article was updated to reflect the final purchase price of the building.

Previous coverage:

The JCPenney building is empty, how it’s developed could change downtown

Salem will have another big, empty building in downtown after JCPenney announced departure

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected].

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter starting at $5 a month. Click I want to subscribe!