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Merchandise Mart Up for Sale?

By Soyoung Kwak in Miscellaneous on Sep 5, 2010 4:30PM

If you've got an extra $1 billion lying around, then you might be in luck. Chicago's Merchandise Mart, a noted landmark, is rumored to be up for sale. According to Crain's, Merch Mart's future sale has been an idea that has been floating around for some time:
Parent company Vornado Realty Trust has been dropping hints along Wall Street and with potential buyers that it wants to sell the subsidiary, including the fortress-like structure along the Chicago River. The New York real estate investment trust purchased it from the Kennedy family in 1998 for $630 million. Vornado's efforts already have yielded a $1.25-billion offer, but that deal died last month, people familiar with the negotiations say.

The sale of Chicago's beloved Merch Mart comes during a time in history where the real estate and housing market is in dire shape. But because the layout and space within Merch Mart is entirely different from that of a fashion mall, the sale of the building could be tough. For instance, the prior $1.25 billion offer for the building came from Cohen Bros. Realty Corporation, which is a "New York-based firm that operates four home design centers nationwide." Crain's also cites that the sale of Merch Mart to other buyers could be challenging, considering its unique layout which doesn't cater to just any kind of shopping space.