A federal bankruptcy judge has approved former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert’s bid to buy what remains of the retailer, a decision that should have little effect on efforts of Merle Hay Mall owners to buy the shuttered store in Des Moines.

Liz Holland, whose family developed and remains the majority owner of Merle Hay Mall, said the store remains on the market — Hurd Real Estates is the agent for Sears Holding Co. She said the order appears to pertain stores that remain open. Lampert’s bid was selected over that of a creditor’s committee which sought to liquidate the operation.

Holland said it is unclear whether the Merle Hay Mall store is part of the assets Lampert bought in an effort to keep the fabled department store operation as a going concern.

The Des Moines City Council has directed city staff to continue negotiations for a development agreement that will result in the reconfiguration of some retail and restaurant spaces at the mall and the repurposing of the Sears store. Polk County supervisors have approved a $2.5 million loan at 1 percent interest to help mall ownership acquire the vacant Sears and Younkers stores.

Title to the Younkers store recently was transferred to a liquidator at a price of $2.2 million. Read more at