* Kansas City grain exchange building to be put up for sale
* CME may sell NYMEX building, lease back space
* Sales reflect shift toward electronic trading
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, March 20 CME Group Inc said it
plans to sell the building that houses its grain exchange in
Kansas City, Missouri, and may also sell the building which
houses its energy trading floor in New York.
The sales reflect the shift to electronic trading that has
made it less attractive for exchange operators to own real
estate for traditional open-outcry pits.
CME, the largest U.S. futures exchange operator, last year
sold most of its historic Chicago Board of Trade building to a
consortium of real-estate companies for $151.5 million and
leased back space that is uses, including trading pits for
CME said at the time it wanted to focus on running its
exchanges, rather than managing real estate.
CME, which gained ownership of most of the Kansas City Board
of Trade building when it purchased the grain exchange for $126
million last year, is recruiting a real estate broker,
spokeswoman Laurie Bischel said.
A spokeswoman for minority owner Highwood Properties Inc
declined to comment.
CME may also sell the building that houses the New York
Mercantile Exchange and lease back space, Bischel said.
The exchange operator said in February that it will move
Kansas City's open-outcry wheat pits to Chicago on July 1 and
will operate an electronic trading center on the former KCBT
floor until the end of September, from which Kansas City-based
traders will be able to execute trades on CME's electronic
Kansas City's main pit, for hard red winter wheat futures,
could comfortably fit several dozen traders. In recent years,
though, it has been largely empty as many traders prefer to do
their business on computer screens set up on desktops scattered
around the trading floor.