39 Caldor leases up for sale in bankruptcy court

Four of them are among the eight in Baltimore area

April 01, 1999|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Caldor Corp., the defunct discount retailer that has closed 145 stores, will try to sell 39 store leases -- including four in the Baltimore area -- at auction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the company handling lease disposition said yesterday.

Norwalk, Conn.-based Caldor, which ran stores in the Northeast -- eight in the Baltimore area -- had operated under Bankruptcy Court protection since 1995. In January, after several failed attempts to return to profitability, the retailer said it would shut down for good by spring.

So far, Kohl's, Kmart Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Ames Department Stores Inc. have stepped in to buy leases for 64 Caldor stores, plus a Massachusetts distribution center.

But only one Baltimore location has a buyer. Kohl's announced last month that it had acquired the lease for the Caldor at Severna Park Mall as part of a 32-store package of Caldors in metropolitan New York. Kohl's, a specialty department store selling moderately priced apparel, shoes and home products, has begun demolishing the building to construct a new store.

Caldor also has closed its stores in Reisterstown Road Plaza in Baltimore, in Chatham Mall in Ellicott City, in Parkway Crossing on Perring Parkway, on York Road near Towson and in Timonium, and in Catonsville and Glen Burnie.

Leases for the Timonium, Glen Burnie, Perring Parkway and Catonsville stores will be up for bid at the auction, which is scheduled for April 19 in Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

Caldor will attempt to sell individual leases for 35 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, as well as for its Norwalk headquarters and a New Jersey distribution center. It is also offering a package of two store leases in Pennsylvania, according to a list compiled by W/S Discount Acquisition LLC, which is handling the sale of leases for Caldor.

Buyers could include retailers, landlords or developers, said Tom DeSimone, a partner with W/S Discount Acquisition.

Nine of the leases to be auctioned have preset minimum bids because they already have buyers, DeSimone said. Those leases are included in the auction because the bankruptcy judge must ask for higher bids before W/S Discount can award a lease, he said.

After the court accepts bids, shopping center landlords will be notified and given a chance to register objections at subsequent hearings. Any leases that are not bought could either remain on the market -- with Caldor continuing to pay the rent -- or revert to the landlord.

DeSimone said he could not elaborate on the reasoning behind including certain leases in the auction while leaving others out.

But it is likely that Caldor included only its undervalued leases, or those with above-market-rate rents, because those with higher rents are more difficult to sell, one real estate expert said.

For instance, rents run $8.54 per square foot for the Catonsville lease, $6.34 for Perring Parkway and $6.35 for Glen Burnie, all of which will be available at auction. By comparison, rents run $2.24 per square foot at Reisterstown Road Plaza and $4 per square foot at Anneslie Shopping Center on York Road, both of which have been left out of the auction, the expert said.

Pub Date: 4/01/99

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