Morrissey retailer to close doors

National Wholesale Liquidators, the discount retailer that specializes in a no-frills shopping experience, will close its Morrissey Boulevard store in the new year. The company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 10 and has been seeking a buyer since 2006, according to published reports.

The large commercial property at 725 Morrissey is worth $4.5 million, according to the city of Boston's Assessing Department. The retailer is a tenant of GPB Real Estate Holdings, which lists a Boylston Street address. The discount department store signed a 10-year lease with GPB in August 2003. The store filled a vacancy left by Bradlees, another discount store that similarly went out of business in 2001.

Robert Pidgeon, an executive at National Wholesale Liquidators' (NWL) headquarters in New York, confirmed that the Dorchester store would close, along with "some" of the company's other locations. He would not say when it would shut its doors permanently.

Phil Carver, who leads the Pope's Hill Neighborhood Association, said the closure marks bad news along the boulevard.

"The economy is killing everyone," Carver said. "I'd love to see another store go in there, but it's going to be tough."

Andy LaGrega, a partner with Wilder Company, a Boston-based firm which manages the Morrissey property and worked to secure NWL's lease five years ago, is more optimistic.

"I know that was one of [NWL's] more successful stores," says LaGrega. "The chain got hit with this whole credit crunch when GE Credit decided not to lend to them anymore. They were a very successful chain and this was a store they were trying to re-organize, but it didn't work out."

LaGrega says his office has already fielded calls from retailers with an interest in the space.

"Good retail locations with market density and demographics and access to the highway are hard to come by," LaGrega said. "Today every deal is difficult, but it's such a great location. I don't think we'd have much trouble getting a replacement tenant."

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