Saturday, February 04, 2006

Investor team in talks to buy downtown Boston Filene's site

BOSTON (AP) -- Two New York investment partners are negotiating to buy the flagship Filene's store site in Boston's Downtown Crossing, and hope to recruit Target as a possible anchor retailer, according to a report published Friday.

One of the partners, Aled Adjmi, told the Boston Business Journal that he and Robert Cayre hope to buy the property for $100 million to $150 million under the name C&A Capital.

Adjmi said he and Cayre were working to close the deal with Federated Department Stores Inc., and were scheduled to meet with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

"The contract hasn't been signed yet," Adjmi said. "We are in the midst of completing negotiations."

Federated spokesman Jim Sluzewski told the weekly publication there is "really nothing new to report" and declined further comment.

Adjmi said he has spoken to Target Corp. about opening a store at the Filene's site to anchor a development that he expects will include high-end retailers on lower levels with residential space above. The Minnesota-based retail chain has said it is looking for opportunities in Boston.

The Filene's site is currently 660,000 square feet with potential to build upward above Downtown Crossing, a retail hub that includes a major subway station.

Adjmi, of A&H Acquisitions Corp., and Cayre, of Aurora Capital, own retail property in New York and Chicago.

Several other developers have placed bids for the Filene's site since Cincinnati-based Federated announced plans to acquire former rival May Department Stores Co. for $11 billion. Federated, the owner of Macy's, said it would eliminate the Filene's name and other May-owned brands.

Federated plans to sell the Filene's Downtown Crossing site in part because a Macy's is already across the street.

Filene's had its origins in a small tailor shop opened in 1849 by William Filene, a 19-year-old German immigrant. The current building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Filene's Basement, which offers cut-rate merchandise below the Filene's site, remains independently owned.

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