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Atlanta’s AmericasMart and International Market Centers finalize merger

AmericasMart, a 7.1-million-square-foot showroom that has occupied downtown Atlanta for more than 50 years, finalized a merger with International Market Centers Friday, creating the world’s largest permanent showroom business.

The merged company, which IMC CEO Robert Maricich called a “growth play,” will operate under the International Market Centers name and will now boast 20 million square feet of show space. Financial terms of the merger were not disclosed.

Former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, center, gives a eulogy during a memorial service for famed Atlanta architect and developer John C. Portman Jr. at AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. Portman died Dec. 29, 2017, at age 93. J. SCOTT TRUBEY/STRUBEY@AJC.com. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The merger is the first change in ownership for AmericasMart since the company was started by noted Atlanta architect and developer John Portman as a furniture market in 1957. Since then, the Portman family has owned and operated the company, expanding it to occupy three buildings on Peachtree Street and creating an identity as a premier showroom for home and gift, rug and apparel wholesalers.

AmericasMart’s brand is one of the strengths of the company, Maricich said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday, and he intends to continue to utilize that identity.

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“The brand AmericasMart is 60-something years old; it’s been nurtured,” Maricich said. “It’s known globally.”

Atlanta Merchandise Mart (AmericasMart), 1966. Robert Connell/AJC

The merger of IMC’s two existing showroom properties in Las Vegas and High Point, North Carolina, with the Atlanta market space will provide benefits for all three properties, Maricich said.

“We got unique growth opportunities at all three cities by being together,” Maricich said.

Maricich’s hope is the combination of three large markets will enable IMC to be as effective as possible in attracting customers, both the wholesalers who rent spaces in the properties as well as the buyers who visit the showrooms.

AmericasMart currently brings buyers from across the country and even the globe to its annual markets, and its properties accommodate more than 4,500 sellers. A 2014 study by Georgia State University found AmericasMart created $198 million for the economy in Atlanta and generated 6,800 jobs in the city over a 12-month period between 2013 and 2014.

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