Loehmann’s at the end?

It may be the end of road for Loehmann’s women’s clothing department stores.

The Bronx-based chain, whose footprint in the boro has gotten smaller over the course of several years, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization once again.

The chain had $100 to $500 million in debts, and about $50 to $100 million in assets in the bankruptcy petition filed in United States Bankruptcy Court on Sunday, Dec. 15. It is the third such filing by the company, according to published reports.

The only Loehmann’s retail location in the borough is in Kingsbridge, at 5740 Broadway, while their headquarters is at 2500 Halsey St. near Westchester Square, in a now nearly empty building that was used as a large distribution center for Loehmann’s. Sources said the company now only uses a small portion of the building.

“The distribution and the corporate center are still there, and that will not change in the foreseeable future,” company spokeswoman Melissa Kranz said of the Halsey Street location. The building also offers office space for Affinity Health Plans and the Bronx chapter of the United Federation of Teachers.

Kranz said that the retail stores will remain open.

“Certainly when it comes to stores, we don’t want people to think the stores are closed,” she said. “We want people to understand that the stores are still open and will remain open.”

A reorganization plan will be determined by the judge in the case, she said. The next court date is in January.

Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, who represents the Broadway commercial corridor home to Loehmann’s only Bronx retail location, in a building that used to be a skating rink, indicated that the fate of the store is not yet clear.

“I have read about Loehmann’s Chapter 11 filing,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to close, and I hope that they don’t.”

But if they do, Dinowitz said that the project is located next to a new mall with a BJs and other stores on the former site of the Stella D’oro bakery.

“I would say that there would be a very strong demand by developers to build more shopping there, especially in light of all the development that has taken place there in recent years,” he said. “It is prime territory.”

He called Loehmann’s a Bronx institution and said that he would like to see them stay. But that if the worst happens, he said any jobs lost will hopefully be offset by increased employment in new retail stores on Broadway, like neighboring BJs, which is expected to open in March.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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