Capstone Property Group, Inc., recently announced its plan to purchase SHOWPLACE, one of High Point's premier furniture showroom facilities. The transaction will also include 101 South Main, a commercial office building located across the street from SHOWPLACE, and three high-end furniture showroom buildings on North Hamilton Street.
All the buildings being sold are primarily owned by Earl N. "Phil" Phillips, a prominent High Point businessman. Ownership of SHOWPLACE also includes Paul Brayton and the family of the late Jim Millis. Capstone Property Group is comprised of partners Maurice Hull and Coy Williard of High Point, and Paul Bell of Charlotte, NC.
Additional funding for the purchase will be provided by Walton Street Capital LLC, a private equity investment firm headquartered in Chicago.
"We've been deeply involved in the International Home Furnishings Market for many years, and we're committed to keeping it alive and thriving in High Point," said Capstone Property Group partner Maurice Hull. "We feel that SHOWPLACE is a landmark property with tremendous potential, not just during April and October, but for between-market use as well."
Key to the transaction is the inclusion of 101 South Main, an eight-story office building that is home to Noble's restaurant and GE Capital Corporation. The building, to be named Showplace West, will be converted to 135,000 square feet of permanent showroom space. It will be connected via skywalk to SHOWPLACE and operate under its management. Planned renovations include the addition of elevators and an updated facade to better complement the dramatic design of SHOWPLACE.
The other buildings involved in the transaction are: 200 North Hamilton, 320 North Hamilton, and 330 North Hamilton. SHOWPLACE and the proposed Showplace West, along with the Hamilton Street Properties total almost one million square feet of display space, making the combined purchase the third largest showroom entity in High Point.
"SHOWPLACE is an outstanding property, especially with the new Transportation Center depositing buyers at its front door," said Capstone partner Coy Williard. "The building has been a phenomenal success, and has added a dynamic dimension to downtown High Point. We believe SHOWPLACE and Showplace West will be catalysts for continued downtown growth."
Williard stressed that the current SHOWPLACE management team, headed by Joanna Easter and Tim McGee, will remain in place, as will the staff of the combined properties.
"There will be no noticeable effect felt by our current tenants, not even a ripple," said Joanna Easter, SHOWPLACE COO. "This will be an excellent opportunity for new exhibitors as well. With the addition of the 101 South Main space and the skywalk connector, we're able to expand the SHOWPLACE concept. We can offer more of the premium location, traffic and amenities that present SHOWPLACE exhibitors enjoy."
"This is an impressive transaction by any real estate standards," said Tim McGee, Vice President of Leasing for SHOWPLACE. "In terms of dollars invested, it is comparable to the 1999 Merchandise Mart Properties acquisition of Market Square."
"The entire transaction sends good signals," added McGee. "It attests to the vision of Phil Phillips and his partners, who took a risk in building such a unique and beautiful showroom facility. Plus it affirms the strength and promise of the High Point home furnishings market."
"This couldn't be a better step for the High Point market and for the city," said Phillips, who created SHOWPLACE with partners Paul Brayton, Jim Millis, Fred Alexander, and Herman Bernard. "I'm delighted to pass the torch to the new local ownership team. SHOWPLACE is a property I've been closely associated with for the past sixteen years, and I'm confident that Capstone Property Group will carry on the showroom tradition of excellence we've established."
SHOWPLACE, which has both temporary exhibits and permanent showrooms and is anchored by Berkline Benchcraft, is 100% leased. The three North Hamilton Street properties are showrooms for high-end furniture and accessory companies, and are also fully leased.
"We're looking forward to working with other local showroom owners to promote the continued success of the furniture market in North Carolina," said Capstone Property's Maurice Hull. "Hopefully we'll bring fresh insight and renewed energy to the High Point showroom scene."
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