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Flagship Filene's Store Sold For $100M

A New Jersey-based real estate developer said Monday it has agreed to buy the flagship Filene's store site in Boston's Downtown Crossing from Federated Department Stores Inc. for about $100 million.

Vornado Realty Trust said it plans to redevelop and expand the 656,000-square-foot property for office and retail use. The Paramus, N.J.-based firm did not release details of its plans.

Those plans will face an additional level of oversight because of the city's decision in May to grant historic landmark status to the block of buildings that includes the Filene's property. A portion of the Filene's property built in 1912 is already on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cincinnati-based Federated said it expects the sale to be completed late this year.

Vornado's current holdings include Chicago's Merchandise Mart, as well office towers and shopping centers around the nation.

Several other parties submitted bids to buy the high-profile Downtown Crossing site, which anchors a retail zone that includes a major subway station.

Bids began coming in after Federated said last summer that stores carrying the Filene's name would be converted to Macy's as part of its takeover of May Department Stores Co., the parent company of Filene's. Federated decided 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.

Filene's Basement, which offers cut-rate merchandise below the Filene's site, remains independently owned.