The New York Post recently reported that there are new rivals in the bidding race for the bulk of discount chain Filene's Basement bankrupt stores. Originally,17 out of the available 25 stores were promised to Crown Acquisitions, including the retailer's historic flagship store in downtown Boston. According to real estate mogul Stanley Chera, the proposed plan would keep the stores under the Filene's name and save them from liquidation closings. Chera says he aims to close the suburban stores and return the chain to its
"downtown roots," focusing on cosmopolitan shoppers who are hungry for
discounts on luxury brands typically found at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. That deal made earlier this month was confirmed at $22 million, but it seems that Filene's is still all ears to additional bidders.
The two new companies that will rival the "stalking horse bidder" of Crown Acquisitions are Syms and Men's Wearhouse. If either bid is accepted, both retailers have plans to lease the former Filene's Basement spaces and turn them into their own stores. The announcement was particularly peculiar from the retailer Syms, that has recently filed for it's own bankruptcy and has reportedly taken $16 million in early withdrawals on company officers' life insurance policies to "enhance liquidity." In order to participate in the bidding wars, Syms has teamed up with real estate powerhouse Vornado, whose seemingly underlying interest is in taking over Boston's Filene's Basement flagship from it's "dirt-cheap" lease for newer, modern projects.
Yet keeping Filene's as it is could preserve a huge piece of retail history-a plight
that we Chicagoans can truly understand after losing our beloved
Marshall Fields to Macy's several years ago. But despite the new competition to claim the properties, Crown Acquisitions is confident that their plan will prevail, as it has the best interest of the century-old retailer at heart. When asked to relay a message to his new competition, Chera warned, "They all better come with their checkbooks wide open."
Article Source: The New York Post
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