Reuters

Sears is looking into re-purposing its shuttered stores as datacenters, starting with one in Chicago.

Sears! Once the catalog king, then an eminent brick-and-mortar retailer, and now, perhaps, a real-estate holding company that leases out space for computers that power the cloud.

Data Center Knowledge reports that Sears had created a new unit -- Ubiquity Critical Environments -- to look into repurposing its shuttered stores as datacenters, starting with this one in Chicago.

Yes, this is this week's sign that the 21st century is upon us.

Sears Holdings has a portfolio of 2.5 million square feet of retail space. Not all of it will be suitable for housing server farms, but some percentage of it will be. Ubiquity is tasked with figuring out which stores could be converted. 

Right now, mall sites are out, but you never know. "I don't think the industry is yet ready for a mall-based data center," Ubiquity's manager told the site. "That may take some time. The stand-alone location is optimal." 

(Imagine wandering an empty mall. Closed, closed, closed. But behind each grate, you hear the whir of a shard of the Internet. Finally, you come to an open storefront. It's a Starbucks and there are 30 IT guys at makeshift standup desks.) 

Sears is considering other options for its closed stores: renting them out as "disaster recovery facilities (euphemistically: "business continuity centers") or leasing their roofs to wireless carriers.

It's weird out there.

H/t: Motherboard

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    Mapping Where Europe's Population Is Moving, Aging, and Finding Work

    Younger people are fleeing rural areas, migrating northward, and having fewer children. Here’s how that’s changing the region.

  2. Environment

    Nasty Ads Force Londoners to See Their Pollution Problem

    To build support for a new charge on older cars, the mayor’s office tells the public, “If you could see London’s air, you’d want to clean it too.”

  3. Life

    In Montreal, French Expats Find Language Doesn't Translate to Community

    More Parisians are moving to Quebec seeking lower rents, jobs, and an easy cultural fit. But as housing prices rise, so does resentment among the city’s locals.

  4. Transportation

    Do You Want Your Subway Map to Look Pretty, or to Reflect Reality?

    Londoners recently got the chance to find out.

  5. POV

    One of the Greatest Threats to Our Lifespans Is Loneliness

    What would society be like if health insurers and public bodies invested as much in encouraging social encounters as exercise and good diet?