IndianaRetail Big Lots to open “Store of the Future” in Merrillville August 23, 2018 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via email Next Realty has signed Big Lots to a 48,849-square-foot lease at 3201 E. Lincoln Highway in Merrillville, Indiana. The new lease paves the way for the opening of a Big Lots “Store of the Future,” and represents the last of five spaces in the Next Realty portolio of former The Sports Authority stores. Amy Levin, director of leasing with Next Realty, represented Next Realty in the transaction. Big Lots in-house director of real estate Vince Cattano represented the retailer. Big Lots has been a tenant of the retail center since 2009. The store will be moving from its current end-cap position, which is 28,000 square feet, to expand and open of the Store of the Future prototype. The new store format will allow the retailer to focus on home goods, furniture and seasonal items, with other consumables relocated to other areas of the store. Next Realty is now marketing the 28,000-square-foot location that Big Lots will leave behind.