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BOSTON-Troubled Filene’s Basement is filing to reorganize under bankruptcy. Awaiting approval from the Bankruptcy Court, New York City-based Crown Acquisitions is offering $22 million for 17 of Filene’s 25 stores. These stores will be subject to a bankruptcy court auction in which other companies may bid for the 17 stores, along with Filene’s other eight stores, as well as additional assets of the ailing retailer. The auction may take place in five weeks.

Former owner Retail Ventures, Inc. sold Filene’s Basement to Buxbaum Group claiming no net proceeds from the sale. Buxbaum, a California-based liquidator and appraiser, cites liquidity issues with its recent purchase as a reason for the property divestiture. RVI had purchased Filene’s out of bankruptcy in 2000, after the retailers had filed for Chapter 11 in 1999.

The 17 stores part which are currently in play are: 17651 Biscayne Blvd. in Aventura, FL; 830 N. Michigan Ave. and 1 North State St. in Chicago; 215-227 Needham St. and 201 Neeham St. in Newton, MA; 620 Ave. of the Americas and 2222 Broadway in New York City; 187-04 Horace Harding Exp. in Flushing, NY; 1400 Norhern Blvd. in Manhasset, NY; 3704 West Dublin, Granville Road in Columbus, OH; Harvard Park Shopping Center, 4045 Richmond Rd. in Warrensville Heights, OH; 529 14th St. NW, 5300 Wisconsin Ave. and 1133 Connecticut Ave. in Washington, DC; 3535 Peachtree Rd. in Atlanta; and most prominently 4 Union Square South, 40 East 14th St. in New York City and the flagship store in Boston at 497 Boylston St.

The stores will remain operating under the Filene’s name and banner, according to Crown. The purchase was done with no bank debt, as it was financed by Crown. A representative for Crown tells GlobeSt.com that the purchase is part of a long-term investment and “merchandising play”. The goal is to expand the brand as locations open up, taking “advantage of a weak market,” according to the rep. The retailer was the main tenant in the postponed “Filene’s project” planned for Downtown Crossing here. Developer John Hynes was teamed with Voranado on the $700-million project which pulled the reins on the project until the monetary situation could be worked out, as no construction loan had been closed at the time. Inquiries to Filene’s were not returned to GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

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