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Flying Star to close Downtown

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Flying Star has announced plans to close its Downtown cafe next week, the third location to be shuttered since the local chain filed for a business reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court earlier this year.The Albuquerque-based company relayed the news on its social media accounts early Wednesday.

“Thank you Downtown for 10 fabulous years! It’s time to say goodbye on October 23rd – for now,” read a post on its Facebook page. “You will always be in our hearts!”

The closing of the Flying Star at 723 Silver SW can be considered unexpected, since the company described the operation there as “profitable” in a motion filed Aug. 11 in Bankruptcy Court to continue leasing the property.

The cafe opened there in February 2005 after a $3.5 million remodel of what was originally the Southern Union Gas Co. building, designed in 1949 by famed architect John Gaw Meem.

Flying Star leases 9,960 square feet in the building from owner Infill Solutions. The space is now available for sublease from Peterson Properties, which manages the building, with an availability date of Nov. 1.

If the space can’t be subleased, most likely to another restaurant, then Flying Star will face financial penalties for breaking its direct lease with Infill Solutions, according to court documents.

“The current reality of the shrinking daytime Downtown population makes running such a large operation cost prohibitive,” Flying Star co-owner Jean Bernstein said in a prepared statement. “Though CNM, Molina Healthcare and others have invested in Downtown, the realities of a declining Downtown market no longer support such a large cafe.” Flying Star abruptly closed its Bernalillo and Santa Fe locations in January when it filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows it to continue in operation while trying to come up with a debt repayment plan acceptable to its creditors. It has six remaining locations.

Bankruptcy Court documents show that, at the time of the company’s filing, it had $3,231,097 in assets against $11,767,867 in liabilities.

Also Wednesday, the company announced a plan to remodel its original Nob Hill cafe at 3416 Central SE that will include “updating the facility and refreshing the concept.”

In addition to Flying Star, the company operates a sister brand, Satellite Coffee, at eight sites. Also under the Flying Star corporate banner is Rio Chan, a food production company.

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