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March 21, 2013

Kansas City Board of Trade building being put up for sale

With the sale of Kansas City’s wheat market in December, new Chicago owners decided to close the trading floor and now to market the structure that is partly owned by Highwoods Properties.

The Kansas City Board of Trade building is going up for sale as the 157-year-old wheat market inside prepares to shut down.

CME Group in Chicago, which owns grain markets there and other markets in New York, gained a 51 percent stake in the property last December when it bought the board of trade from is members.

Highwoods Properties Inc. owns the other 49 percent.

“We plan to sell the building with Highwoods,” CME spokeswoman Laurie Bischel said. “We’re recruiting brokers.”

A Highwoods official declined to comment Thursday.

Last summer, Highwoods sold the nearby One Ward Parkway building to Country Club Bank for $6.45 million. It also sold residential properties here for $11 million. Both were listed as non-core holdings in Highwoods’ annual report to shareholders.

Highwoods is a Raleigh, N.C.-based company with more than $3.6 billion in land, buildings and other real estate holdings. Among these is the Country Club Plaza and partial ownership of the Plaza Colonnade and 4600 Madison properties.

CME Group agreed in October to pay $126 million for the Kansas City Board of Trade, including its share of the property.

CME said then that active trading of wheat would continue on the Kansas City exchange floor for at least six months. Last month, CME announced that the Kansas City trading floor would close June 28.

Most of the trading in the Kansas City contacts for hard red winter wheat, the variety used in breads, happens electronically through the CME’s Globex system. CME’s Chicago Board of Trade offers a soft red winter wheat contract, the variety associated with cakes.

Kansas City has been the home of an active wheat market since 1856. The board of trade moved to its current location in 1966. It had been at 10th and Wyandotte streets since 1925.

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