CHICAGO - NeoCon, North America's largest contract furnishings fair, and other trade events held at the Merchandise Mart, will not be negatively impacted by Google's plans to lease 572,000 square feet of space at the Mart for its newly acquired Motorola Mobility business.

If anything, some of the contract furnishing companies that display at NeoCon will likely "receive a windfall" of business from the new and largest Mart tenant, according to Mark Falanga, president of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. Falanga pointed to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times that Motorola Mobility will invest $300 million in the move, including the potential purchase of office furnishings.

Steelcase, Herman MIller, Haworth and HON are among many office furniture companies that maintain permanent showrooms at the Mart.

During the June 13 annual breakfast of the Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, Falanga sought to lay to rest the "wildly outrageous rumors" that Vornado Realty Trust, owners of MMPI, intended to lease out space on the seventh and eighth floors used for temporary exhibits for NeoCon, the International Furniture & Accessories Market and some 20 other Mart shows. He said exhibit space sales for those two floors “drive the equivalent of 20 years of rent” and consequently would be “the last two floors we would ever take out of commission.”

To make way for Motorola Mobility, Falanga said showrooms, including giftware tenants and a design center are being relocated to vacant space in the building. Motorola Mobility is expected to move in by early 2013.

Google purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion on May 22. The firm is taking a 15-year lease at the Merchandise Mart to take advantage of state tax credits valued in excess of $100 million over a 10-year period.

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