MMPI: Merchandise Mart Not Up for Sale

       

       

CHICAGO–Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., is calling a story in Crain’s Chicago Business this week that it was up for sale “erroneous” and says MMPI is not being shopped to perspective buyers.

“Allusions and rumors regarding MMPI being offered for sale are erroneous and unhelpful,” the company, a division of Vornado Reality Trust, said in a statement given to HFN. MMPI owns several key market facilities in the home business besides its Mart base here, including Market Square, Furniture Plaza and the National Furniture Mart in High Point, N.C., the L.A. Mart in Los Angeles and 7 W New York.

The Crain’s story, headlined “Merchandise Mart Up For Sale” quoted Chris Kennedy. MMPI president, saying Vornado “will look at yield above everything else and if they can reinvest at a higher yield, they will. Always.”

The MMPI statement says this “should not be taken as an indication that MMPI is up for sale. That same statement could and should apply to any entity owned by a publicly trade company.

“In MMPI’s case, however, there is no book prepared, no retained counsel, no investment banker, no broker, no process being pursued—all things that would indicate a property described as being ‘up for sale.’”

The statement went on to say that MMPI has been consistently profitable and is running at a property-wide occupancy rate of 92 percent, about the same as a year ago.

An MMPI affiliate did default on its mortgage for some of its High Point properties earlier this year, but according to published reports the company is trying restructure that debt and the showroom buildings remain in a business-as-usual mode.

But in its statement, MMPI said it remains committed to the showroom business. “Even in one of the most uncertain economic climates of our time, MMPI is strong, and our commitment to our customers, tenants and patrons remains unwavering.”