The flagship American TV building on the West Beltline has found a potential buyer in a furniture and appliance retailer with a dozen locations across central Wisconsin.
A real estate group headed by the Fonti family has submitted a bid in bankruptcy court for $4.6 million for the 7.2 acre property with a 150,000-square foot building property located at 2404 W. Beltline Highway.
Court-appointed receiver Michael Polsky of Milwaukee is now seeking a hearing before Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford to finalize the sale.
A previous offer of $12 million would have also included the closed American TV stores in Des Moines and Rockford. But that deal came with numerous contingencies, prompting Polsky to recommend the offer from the Fontis, who run their businesses under the name Boston Inc.
Calls to the Boston Inc. office in Stevens Point were not immediately returned.
Boston Inc. was established by Vince Fonti, Sr. in 1969 and has grown into one of the state’s largest independent furniture, appliances, and electronics retailers with a centralized distribution center in Stevens Point and stores in Appleton, DePere, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Rhinelander, Plover and Wausau. Some stores operate as Ashley Furniture, others as Appliance & Furniture Mart.
Court records show American TV had $96 million in debt claims on May 23, but $28 million has since been paid back to mortgage holder BMO Harris Bank. The receiver has also paid out some $4 million to vendors, $10.3 million in payroll expenses to employees and $3.4 million in state sales taxes. American still owes $5 million in a disputed claim with Whirlpool and $1 million to Samsung.
Also, records show that landlords are claiming $39 million in unpaid future rents, a claim that remains under dispute in the court. Another claim from Comenity Bank of Columbus, Ohio, for $11.4 million also remains in dispute.
On the asset side, American is showing $55.6 million from sale of remaining inventory and five other stores, $6.6 million in cash and $14 million in reserves with its credit card processor.
In April, Lanford approved the sale of five stores, including the Madison East location, for $21 million. Steinhafels purchased the Madison East store and two others with plans to open furniture stores this fall.
The closing of American TV this winter cost nearly 1,000 people their jobs in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.