Just five months into 2012, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) said it is on pace for a record-breaking year for leasing activity with its contract furnishings permanent showrooms.

Year to date, MMPI has signed 29 new, expansion, and renewal leases totaling 119,021 square feet of permanent showroom space during calendar year 2012, nearly tripling the leasing activity for a typical year. The renewals, early renewals, and significant expansions of permanent showroom space in The Mart feature leading names in the contract furnishings industry including AIS, Exemplis, Haworth, Momentum Textiles, and Shaw. These companies cross over into all product categories, including systems furniture, modular walls, seating, floor coverings, and textiles.

“Our remarkable first and second quarter leasing activity represents an industry-wide commitment to the Merchandise Mart and reaffirmation that The Mart is the business hub of the contract furnishings industry,” said MMPI president Mark Falanga. “The leasing activity has included a remarkable 95 percent renewal rate among expiring leaseholders, early renewals from some of our largest tenants, significant expansion projects among existing showroom partners, and exciting new showroom business.”

Eight existing industry-leading tenants have significantly expanded their showroom space, totaling 29,702 square feet, including Andreu World, AIS, Decca Contract, Exemplis, Magnuson Group, Momentum Textiles, Shaw Contract Group, and Teknion.

MMPI has signed 13 renewal agreements totaling 67,719 square feet, including AIS, Decca Contract, Egan Visual, Global, Green Hides, Haworth, Krug, Nightingale Chair, Okamura Neutral Posture, Paoli, and Woodtronics.

“Our renewal and expansion rate among existing tenants speaks volumes regarding the consistent business success of our permanent showroom partners,” said Byron Morton, MMPI vice president of leasing. “At the core of each business decision to renew and expand is a fundamental belief coupled with bottom line sales results of each showroom and participation in NeoCon.”

MMPI has also reached agreements with eight new showroom tenants totaling 21,600 square feet, including Bush Business Furniture, CP Furniture Systems, Source International, and Wieland Healthcare. Boasting 125 mid-to-upper-end contract furnishings showrooms , The Mart is a critical channel by which manufacturers launch, display and sell innovative furniture and interior resources for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and education environments. Products include systems furniture, flooring, ceiling systems, casegoods, lighting, seating, tile, technology, textiles and architectural products.

“MMPI is continuing to focus on its core businesses, including The Merchandise Mart, our extensive portfolio of U.S.-based trade shows, and Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center,” said MMPI president Mark Falanga. “Our showroom partners in the contract furnishings industry understand our commitment and our success in developing their respective businesses. MMPI continues to own and manage the world’s premiere showroom buildings, and produce best-in-class trade and consumer shows, and house some of the most illustrious names in residential and contract design, as well as top names in the gift and apparel industries.”

The Mart welcomes 38,500 people each business day and millions of people each year. Visitors frequent The Mart’s retail shops and restaurants, LuxeHome kitchen and bath boutiques, 11 floors of permanent showrooms for gift, home, outdoor and commercial furnishings, 15 major trade and consumer shows as well as hundreds of meetings and special events. The National Exposition of Contract Furnishings (NeoCon), scheduled for June 11-13, is North America's largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors, providing architecture and design professionals with more than 120 CEU-accredited seminars and association forums, top-notch keynote speakers. NeoCon attendees discover thousands of innovative products and resources for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors from more than 525 showrooms and exhibitors.