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LAS VEGAS-The 1.6-million-sf second building at World Market Center opened this week in conjunction with Las Vegas Market, the annual home furnishings trade show that got underway here on Monday. The $345-million, 16-story building is the second of an eventual eight buildings that will cost $3 billion to develop and will total 12 million sf, making it the largest trade show complex in the world.

World Market Center is a new integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and convention complex in Las Vegas, a place where designers and manufacturers lease space to show off their latest products to retailers and other wholesale buyers. Upward of 60,000 furniture retailers, manufacturers, designers and specifiers are expected to attend the show, which runs today through Friday and features more than 1,200 exhibitors at three locations.

The 1.3-million-sf first building opened in July 2005 and is fully leased. The $345-million second building was fully leased in August, though there has been some shifting between the first two buildings as tenants find the right-sized space for their showrooms. The third building, the largest yet at 2.1 million sf, got under way in October and is scheduled for occupancy in 2008. It was about 25% leased before construction began.

The first four floors of the third building 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 rates vary depending on the size of the leasehold, the length of commitment and the location within a building. A tenant in the second building last year signed a triple-net lease for 16,000 sf on the 13th floor that carried a rental rate in the mid $20s per sf per year.

Located near the confluence of South Grand Central Parkway, West Charleston Boulevard and Interstate 15, World Market Center is located near Las Vegas Premium Outlets. It also is located near a 5.4-acre site that will be home to the jewelry industry’s version of World Market Center. In October, developer Robert Zarnegin of Beverly Hills, CA unveiled plans for a one-million-sf complex that will include a 50-plus story trade tower that would house corporate jewelry and gem offices and luxury condos that will be closed to the general public and, next to it, a three-level public space filled with retail jewelry shops, a museum and a café.

The World Jewelry Center tower would have 800,000 sf of office space plus at least seven floors of condominium units. The public component would total 125,000 sf, including 90,000 sf of dedicated space for jewelry retailers. The development is expected to cost several hundred million dollars. The project manager is Bill Boyajian, former president of the Gemological Institute of America. The development timeline calls for work to begin in the next eight to 14 months; project completion is slated for mid-2010.

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