HAYWARD (CBS 5) ― Department store chain Mervyns LLC will announce Friday that it is filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection — which means the Hayward-based retailer must shut its doors and liquidate its inventory, sources told CBS 5.
Over the summer, Mervyns had filed for chapter 11 protection from its creditors in U.S. bankruptcy court for the District of Delaware. The company said at the time that it planned to continue business as usual while it reorganized.
The privately-held retailer, which has languished for several years, operates about 175 locations in seven states - but primarily in California
Office vacancies rise and rents fall:
In some parts of the region, office buildings that once housed mortgage lenders and other housing-related businesses stand 20% empty, according to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. Even in desirable Santa Monica, vacancies have almost doubled as companies have shunned the coastal area's still-pricey digs in favor of cheaper rents elsewhere in the region.
Altogether, Los Angeles County had a vacancy rate of 11.6% including sublease space at the end of the third quarter, up slightly from 9.5% a year ago."We are certainly going to see vacancy rates go up as we go into this economy," said Joe Vargas, regional manager of Cushman & Wakefield. "Rental rates will be slow to adjust down, but we are going to see it happen."
The situation is worse in Orange County, where office vacancy rates rose to 16.2% in the third quarter from 11% a year ago, spurred in large part by the closing of several lenders that specialized in subprime mortgage loans. In the buildings around John Wayne Airport, however, vacancy has surpassed 20%.
End of office party is coming:
The next shoe? After years of plunging residential property valuations, commercial real estate is heading into the danger zone as office vacancies rise, stores close and hotel bookings fall.
This could mean another body blow to already struggling financial institutions. Alan Todd, head of research on commercial-mortgage-backed bonds at J.P. Morgan Securities, projects commercial-property losses of as much as $250 billion over the next 10 years, or about 7% of the $3.4 trillion outstanding debt. That would rival the roughly 9% cumulative loss rate during the real-estate carnage of the early 1990s.