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LAS VEGAS-The non-stop construction that has transformed World Market Center from an idea to a 5 million-sf development over the past three years is going to stop for at least six months. Instead of moving from the just completed, 2.1 million-sf third building directly onto the fourth building as previously planned, company officials tell GlobeSt.com they will announce a timeline for the fourth building by the end of the year.

The delay is meant to allow the furniture industry time to recover from the downturn in the nation’s housing and credit markets, according to local industry sources. WMC president and chief executive Bob Maricich declined to be interviewed for this article; instead, he provided GlobeSt.com with a written statement.

“Financing for this fourth building on our campus is in place; the size and scope of the project remain unchanged. Our sound financial backing and strong leasing position give us the flexibility to proceed with Building D on our terms, at what we consider the optimal time. As you may know, our initial project timeline was accelerated due to the unprecedented success we have enjoyed since opening Building A in 2005.”

Rising adjacent to the confluence of South Grand Central Parkway, West Charleston Boulevard and Interstate 15, World Market Center is an 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. WMC was conceived by real estate developers Jack Kashani and Shawn Samson in 1999. In 2004, they brought on the Related Cos. LP of New York City to help finance the development.

Since then, at a cost of $1.1 billion, World Market Center has grown from nothing to 5 million sf in three massive buildings. When city approvals for the 1.1-million-sf, 17-story fourth building were handed down in January, a WMC official told GlobeSt.com that all of the existing space was either leased or committed, that preleasing for the fourth building would begin in February and that construction would begin this summer.

Maricich could not be reached for comment on the status of preleasing for the fourth building. Also not known is whether any tenants this year have backed out of prior commitments to expand into the new building, which officially opens Monday, or to backfill tenants who are vacating space in the first two buildings in favor of a larger space in the new building.

The first two buildings–a 1.3-million-sf structure opened in July 2005 and 2.6-million-sf building opened in early 2007–had some spaces come available as tenants opted to lease larger showrooms in the newest building but those availabilities have since been backfilled, a WOMC source told GlobeSt.com in January. The third builiding, along with parking for the entire development, officially opens on Monday.

When the fourth building is complete, World Market Center will become the largest wholesale merchandise mart in the country with 6 million sf. The overall $3-billion development plan calls for 12 million sf in eight buildings to be completed by 2013.

As part of the plan to ensure demand for future phases, the developers have been working to further broaden WMC’s appeal beyond furniture. In addition to creating a Design Center within the existing buildings to attract interior designers to set up showrooms, the fourth building will include 150,000 sf of flex space that will be used to host special events and industry exhibits in between the Las Vegas Market events. During Las Vegas market events, the flex space will be leased to temporary exhibitors who want to be closer to the permanent showrooms. In addition, nearly half of the floors will be devoted to gift and home textiles companies rather than the furniture companies that currently dominate the development.

Maricich became president and chief executive of World Market Center in January, replacing Harvey Dondero. Maricich spent the past decade with Hickory, NC-based Century Furniture Industries, most recently as its president and chief executive. He also has served for many years on the American Furniture Manufacturers Association board of directors, most recently as chairman of the executive committee.

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