The last time Bob Maricich, president and CEO of International Market Centers, talked publicly about the Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas, it was, at that point, the hottest day of the year, in July.
On Thursday, Maricich was at it again on one of the coldest days of the year as contractors Marnell Cos. and the Penta Building Group conducted a topping-off ceremony for the 315,000-square-foot convention facility scheduled to open in time for the five-day Summer World Market. That event, in late July, annually draws 50,000 people to the World Market Center, which Bob Maricich says a competitor once called “a mirage in the desert.”
Maricich and a host of city dignitaries signed a steel beam that was hoisted to the top of the flexible-space convention center, which is expected to be home to several downtown-based gatherings. Las Vegas City Council members Cedric Crear and Victoria Seaman, City Manager Scott Adams and Maricich offered brief remarks before the beam, an American flag and an evergreen were hoisted to the summit of the building, which is expected to open its doors June 22.
The Expo, built adjacent to the World Market Center complex, is a public-private, tax-increment financing partnership within Symphony Park where a Marriott hotel is being built in the same neighborhood as The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Adams said the expo is one of Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s most anticipated projects. As a member of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Goodman has recognized that it will be a catalyst for more hotel rooms and restaurants.
“With the city’s participation in this, it’s not only going to pencil for us, but it’s going to be unbelievable for downtown and the surrounding area as we drive tens of thousands of people here for our events,” Maricich said. “It couldn’t have happened without all of you.”
Maricich also said he was happy to prove skeptics wrong about the viability of the building.
“I can remember when I first got involved with World Market Center, it was just coming out of the ground, and a competitor in Chicago said, ‘Well don’t worry about that World Market Center, it’s never going to happen, it’s a mirage in the desert,’” Maricich said. “Well look at this mirage.”
Expo will be the third of four convention facilities to open in Southern Nevada in the next year.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. is expected to open its new 430,000-square-foot Wynn Las Vegas convention center with an indoor-outdoor component on the Wynn Golf Club course in March.
The Caesars Forum conference facility opening in March will include 550,797 square feet of exhibit space with a 107,000-square-foot outdoor plaza on 29 acres in the shadow of the High Roller near the Linq Promenade.
The Las Vegas Convention Center will take possession of its West Exhibit Hall including 600,000 square feet of new space with a January 2021 opening date. The $980.3 million facility, fronting Convention Center Drive, also will have meeting rooms and a third-floor outdoor reception space with a view of the Las Vegas Strip.