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Sale in works for High Point's Showplace

Deal expected to be done soon, pending court approval
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The court-appointed receiver for Showplace has a purchase offer for the property and expects to present terms of a sale shortly to Guilford County Superior Court, a court official said Friday.
The receiver told the court that a contract has gone through several versions, and that a sale is anticipated to take place soon with the court's approval.
Officials with Lincoln Harris, the receiver in the case, have not responded to inquiries from Furniture/Today. Showplace was placed in receivership in 2009, along with four other downtown High Point showroom properties held by the Showplace owners, by a Guilford County judge after its owners defaulted on an $81 million note held by Bank of America.

The receivership involves Showplace and Showplace West (the former First Factors building at 101 S. Main St.), as well as smaller showroom buildings at 200 N. Hamilton St., 320 N. Hamilton St. and 330 N. Hamilton St.

All told, the properties have more than 700,000 square feet of showroom space, including about 470,000 square feet in Showplace.

Showplace was purchased in 2005 by private equity firm Walton Street Capital and three North Carolina developers, High Point residents Maurice Hull and Coy Williard Jr. and Charlotte resident Paul Bell.

A sale of Showplace would be the third major deal for a High Point showroom property.

A Guilford County court this week also approved a sale of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.'s 2 million-square-foot High Point holdings to an entity called High Point Acquisition Co. for $139.5 million. The filing did not identify who was behind that company.

On Tuesday, Bassett Furniture Inds. said in an SEC filing that it and other owners of High Point's International Home Furnishings Center had reached an agreement to sell the IHFC for $275 million, including the assumption of debt. That filing identified the purchaser only as IHFC Acquisition Company.

The High Point and IHFC acquisition companies are both recently formed Delaware limited liability corporations. The Delaware Department of State also lists a new LLC called Showplace Acquisition Company as forming on Feb. 4.

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