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This picture of Northtown Mall in Blaine was taken in April 2020, when the mall was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington Prime Group, the owner or Northtown Mall, filed for bankruptcy June 13 citing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic as the main cause. (File photo by Paige Kieffer)

Washington Prime Group, the owner or Northtown Mall in Blaine, has filed for bankruptcy, citing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as the main cause.

Washington Prime, based out of Columbus, Ohio, is a retail real estate investment trust that manages retail property and rents space to tenants. Washington Prime owns more than 100 malls and retail centers across the United States, including Northtown Mall in Blaine and Maplewood Mall in Maplewood.

Washington Prime Group said the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns led the company and some of its subsidiaries to file for voluntary petitions of relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas Sunday, June 13.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for many companies, including Washington Prime Group, making a Chapter 11 filing necessary to reduce the Company’s outstanding indebtedness,” Washington Prime Group said in a statement.

Despite the filing for bankruptcy, the company said it will be “business as usual” at Northtown Mall and at other Washington Prime Group retail properties.

“Throughout the Chapter 11 financial restructuring, we expect business as usual at our town centers, including Northtown Mall, where our tenants, sponsors and employees will continue operating as normal, with a focus on providing enjoyable experiences for our guests,” a statement from Washington Prime Group said.

Washington Prime Group enters into Chapter 11 after executing a restructuring support agreement with a significant portion of its creditors.

The company said it will use Chapter 11 to implement a comprehensive financial restructuring of the company’s corporate-level debt.

When Washington Prime Group announced it had filed for bankruptcy, it said it had secured $100 million in new money debtor-in-possession financing to support day-to-day operations during the Chapter 11 process and ensure that all business operations continue without interruption.

“The Company’s financial restructuring will enable WPG (Washington Prime Group) to right size its balance sheet and position the Company for success going forward,” Lou Conforti, CEO and director of Washington Prime Group, said in a statement. “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.”

Washington Prime listed assets of $4.03 billion and debts of $3.47 billion in court documents.

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