By Dennis Seid
Lane Furniture finished laying off nearly 500 workers at its Saltillo plant last week, and its parent company announced Thursday it was putting Lane’s Verona location on the auction block.
Heritage Home Group – the umbrella company for Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville, Drexel Heritage, Maitland Smith and other furniture companies that were once part of the now-defunct Furniture Brands International – is auctioning 17 Thomasville and Lane properties in all, mostly in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. The facilities are former manufacturing plants, warehouse and distribution centers and administrative buildings.
The only Mississippi facility – and the only Lane facility – HHG is auctioning is the Verona building, where Lane’s nearly 424,000-square-foot facility was used most recently as warehouse and office space.
Hilco Real Estate of Northbrook, Ill., set a June 19 deadline for bids.
Buyers can purchase the properties individually or in any combination, the company said.
“The buildings in this portfolio offer a number of structural and location-related attributes that will be very attractive to a wide variety of potential buyers,” said Joel Schneider, senior vice president for Hilco Real Estate. “As such we expect this sale to attract active interest from a broad spectrum of real estate investors, developers and end-users. Virtually all sites could be converted for other uses.”
HHG was formed after KPS Capital Partners bought most of the assets of Furniture Brands for $280 million in a bankruptcy court-approved deal in December.
KPS had indicated it would offer jobs to most of Furniture Brands’ 4,000 remaining employees, but in January, Heritage Home Group said it would shutter Lane’s Saltillo plant by March 21, putting 480 people out of work.
HHG also said it was laying off 84 Thomasville employees as it closed the brands’ last two plants in Thomasville, N.C.
HHG owns an 830,200-square-foot facility in Saltillo and a 715,951-square-foot plant in Tupelo, which remains open. It leases a 494,813-square-foot distribution center in Wren.
Lane, which was founded in 1912 in Virginia and merged with Tupelo-based Action Industries in 1972, employed about 1,400 people pre-bankruptcy.
It’s not known how many remain, as company officials have not responded to media inquiries.