- Supplies Guide
A $1 billion building–buying spree has put the Las Vegas Market and much of the showroom space in High Point, N.C., under the control of a single ownership group, unifying the two largest furniture markets in the United States.
A new entity, the International Market Centers, will operate the World Market Center in Las Vegas, as well as more than a dozen showroom buildings in High Point, including the International Home Furnishings Center. After a final set of real estate transactions close, the IMC will own about 11.5 million square feet in both cities.
“What a wonderful week for news this has been,” Bob Maricich, IMC chief executive officer, said at a news conference May 3 in High Point. “Yesterday, we were able to close on virtually everything. This is an unprecedented event for the furniture industry. There has been lots of conjecture in the last couple of months and these were incredibly complex transactions with four different sets of owners. It wasn’t possible for us to be as transparent as we would have liked to be. But we feel that pulling this all together was really the best solution for all—the employees, the cities of High Point and Las Vegas, the furniture industry and the markets. We are uniting the primary assets of the home furnishings industry, and really, it’s the dawn of a new age of collaboration and cooperation that will make our industry and the market itself stronger.”
Maricich previously was president and CEO of the Las Vegas Market and, before that, president and CEO of Century Furniture.
The new IMC is organized into two divisions—home furnishings (including mattresses) and gift and home decor. It will operate from headquarters in both High Point and Las Vegas. Officials say they plan to continue the current schedule of four major furniture markets a year—two (winter/summer) shows in Las Vegas and two (spring/fall) in High Point.
IMC’s current assets include 13 buildings of more than 10.6 million square feet in both cities. Properties include the IHFC and the Market Square complex (consisting of eight properties) in High Point, as well as all of the Las Vegas Market buildings and the 59 acres on which they sit.
IMC is in the process of acquiring five additional High Point properties including Showplace, Showplace West and three North Hamilton Street showrooms. Upon closing, which is anticipated in 30 to 60 days, IMC will own and operate a total of 18 showroom buildings.
The majority of the investment in IMC is held by two entities—private investment firm Bain Capital Partners, headquartered in Boston; and by a subsidiary of investment funds managed by private investment firm Oaktree Capital Management LP, headquartered in Los Angeles. Real estate firm Related Companies, furniture maker Bassett Furniture Industries and affiliates of the original developer of the Las Vegas Market—Network World Market Center—also are investors.
“All assets in the portfolio have been recapitalized with significant equity investments, providing for long–term stability and creating a growth platform for the industry,” a news release stated. Some buildings involved in the deal had been in receivership.
In addition to Maricich, the IMC management team includes several industry veterans:
“I believe with all my heart that the resources we bring to High Point and Las Vegas will invigorate the respective markets and our industry by attracting new buyers and laying the foundation for our future,” Mitchell said. “By bringing business partners together four times a year with new product, we will spur order writing on a scale that will deliver bottom–line results for our tenants and fill retailers’ showrooms with the latest products.”