Key Events Leading to Launch of International Market Centers
Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, May 27, 2011
Fall 2000 - Developers Jack Kashani and Shawn Samson announce plans for a 5 millionsquare- foot retail and wholesale furniture complex to be built in phases in Las Vegas.
Jan. 2001 - Government officials in High Point announce plans for The High Point Market Authority, a nonprofit that will supervise the city's biannual home furnishings markets. The organization is formed later in the year with former High Point Mayor Judy Mendenhall as president.
Feb. 2001 - Kashani and Samson hire market and retail veteran Dave Palmer as general manager and leasing director of the future Las Vegas Market. Plans now are for a 7.5 millionsquare- foot complex, with the first phase opening in 2003.
April 2001 - High Point's International Home Furnishings Center adds a 12th floor to its Commerce wing.
Spring 2002 - Chris Kennedy, president of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., which owns some High Point showroom buildings, calls plans for the Vegas market the "dust-up in the desert."
March 2003 - Developers break ground on the first World Market Center building.
Jan. 2004 - The Related Cos., a New Yorkbased real estate firm, helps secure construction financing for the WMC project.
Nov. 2004 - Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says he likes the Las Vegas Market's chances for success, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "If I lived in High Point right now, I'd either be committing suicide ... or I'd be looking for a ticket to come out here to Las Vegas."
July 2005 - Inaugural Las Vegas Market is held in 10-story, 1.3 million-square-foot Building A, built at a cost of about $225 million, and more than 1 million square feet of temporary space. At this point, plans are for 12 million square feet of permanent showroom space to be completed by 2013.
Oct. 2005 - High Point opens the first portion of its transportation terminal, which eventually will be named after Mendenhall. The terminal was built with the help of millions of dollars in state, federal, city and Market Authority funds.
The October market also is the first to feature centralized registration in High Point.
Sept. 2005 - A group of North Carolina developers agrees to acquire the 470,000-square-foot Showplace and four other downtown showroom buildings in High Point from principal owner Phil Phillips. Together, the properties have about 950,000 square feet of space.
Jan. 2006 - Bruce Miller, longtime CEO of the 3.5 million-square-foot IHFC, retires and is succeeded by Tom Lindh.
April 2006 - Mendenhall retires from the Market Authority and is replaced by Brian Casey, a veteran trade show executive.
Sept. 2006 - Industry veteran and Las Vegas native Harvey Dondero is named CEO of WMC.
Jan. 2007 - World Market Center Building B, with 16 floors and 1.6 million square feet, opens at a cost of about $345 million.
Early to mid-2007 - The U.S. housing bubble bursts and demand for home furnishings begins to weaken.
Aug. 2007 - Dondero steps down as CEO of the WMC.
Jan. 2008 - Palmer announces plans to retire from the World Market Center. Former Century Furniture President Bob Maricich is named president and CEO of the WMC.
June 2008 - Tom Mitchell is named president and CEO of the IHFC, replacing Tom Lindh, who stepped down in May. In Las Vegas, as Building C nears completion, the WMC postpones plans for Building D indefinitely.
July 2008 - At a cost of about $550 million, the 16-story, 2.1 million-square-foot Building C and a $60 million seven-story parking garage open at World Market Center. Samson and Kashani, other investors and The Related Cos. have now spent more than $1.1 billion to create 5 million square feet of showroom space.
August 2009 - Showplace and associated properties are placed in receivership after its owners default on an $81 million note.
May 2010 - World Market Center Phase 1 and 2 (Buildings A and B) borrowers default on loans. While making some debt service payments through September, as of March 2011 they will owe more than $46 million on the loans.
Fall, winter 2010 - Rumors begin circulating of a possible merger between the WMC and several prominent High Point showroom buildings.
Nov./Dec. 2010 - Vornado quits paying on a $225 million loan on its Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. holdings in High Point. The buildings are placed in receivership.
Jan. 2011 - Bassett Furniture Inds. reports it is in negotiations to sell its 46.9% stake in the IHFC.
April 30, 2011 - Casey resigns from the Market Authority to take another job. The Authority's board is seeking a replacement.
May 3, 2011 - Bain Capital, Oaktree Capital Management, Related and other investors announce International Market Centers, a venture that combines properties in High Point and Las Vegas and will control 11.5 million square feet of showroom space.
Furniture Today's Ray Allegrezza Speaks with Stephen Bogart about Fine Furniture's New Bogart Line