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LAS VEGAS-Ground will break ceremoniously next week for the third building at World Market Center. At 2.1 million sf, the 16-story building will be the largest WMC building to date. Occupancy is scheduled for 2008. The building is about 25% preleased.

World Market Center is a new integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and convention complex in Las Vegas. When fully built, it will have 12 million sf in eight buildings, making it the largest trade show complex in the world. The total cost of the development is expected to exceed $3 billion.

The 1.3-million-sf first building opened in July 2005 and is fully leased. The $345-million second building, which is slated for completion this November, was fully leased as of last month. The fall completion should allow tenants to set up shop before the annual show in January.

The first few four floors of Building C will operate as a design center, open year-round to the trade. The rest of the building will be segmented by product categories such as floor coverings, lighting and furniture.

The first and second buildings are connected by sky bridges on floors two through 10. The second and third buildings will be connected by a sky bridge on every level.

The lease rate range for the third building was not immediately available. The last lease signed for the second building was in the mid $20s per sf, triple net, according to the lessee, Emerald Home Furnishings of Tacoma, WA, which took about 16,000 sf on the 13th floor.

The company’s president David Beckmann told GlobeSt.com last month that the company has for the past three years set up a 20,000-sf temporary showroom at the annual Las Vegas Furniture Show at a cost of $10 per sf. Despite the increased cost of the permanent space, Beckmann believes he will save money in the long run.

“The amount of work involved in putting a temporary showroom of our size is tremendous; you have to do everything in two days and take it down in one day,” Beckmann says. “After doing three temporary showrooms we just thought we’d be better off in permanent space; the money we spend in moving product around will be a lot less, and I think traffic will be up.”

The site for the third building is now being cleared. Next week’s ground-breaking event is being sponsored in part by Vegas Grand Prix, which is producing a Champ Car road race that will take place in the streets of Downtown Las Vegas in April.

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