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Grand Central Mall files for bankruptcy

Three of four new stores have opened at the Grand Central Mall, with Ross Dress for Less expected to open soon. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

VIENNA — The company that owns Grand Central Mall filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but said day-to-day operations at its properties should remain the same.

Washington Prime Group announced in a press release that it was voluntarily beginning a restructuring process in an agreement supported by creditors that hold approximately 73 percent of its principal secured corporate debt and 67 percent of its unsecured notes.

The company has secured $100 million from the consenting creditors to support day-to-day operations during the Chapter 11 process and “ensure that all business operations continue in the ordinary course without interruption.”

“The company’s financial restructuring will enable WPG to right size its balance sheet and position the company for success going forward,” Washington Prime Group CEO and Director Lou Conforti said in the release. “During the financial restructuring, we will continue to work toward maximizing the value of our assets and our operating infrastructure. The company expects operations to continue in the ordinary course for the benefit of our guests, tenants, vendors, stakeholders and colleagues.”

The release cites the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic as making the Chapter 11 filing necessary to reduce the company’s debt.

At the local level, pandemic restrictions delayed the planned openings of a quartet of new stores. As restrictions eased and vaccinations became more widespread, the mall celebrated the arrivals of HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx and PetSmart in March. The fourth store, Ross Dress for Less, is expected to open in July.

A mall spokeswoman directed questions about the bankruptcy filing to Washington Prime’s media representatives.

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