For domestic and international home furniture and interior design buyers, it sounds like a dream come true. Touted by developers as the home and contract furnishing industry's largest and most comprehensive showroom complex in the western United States, the World Market Center will cover an impressive 7.5 million square feet spread across 57 acres near downtown Las Vegas when completed.

Currently running ahead of schedule, Phase One (a 1.3-million square-foot, 10-story building featuring 230 permanent showrooms) will open in May 2005, followed by Phase Two in January 2007. The next three buildings will open in six-month intervals after that. How did the concept for this $1 billion integrated campus come about? “The developers perceived a lack of first-quality furniture exhibition space in the western states,” says Jim Reid, manager of construction for developer World Market Center, LLC, in Las Vegas. “That combined with the infrastructure to support conventions that exists in Las Vegas, as well as the city's growing appeal as a destination vacation, prompted the project.”

Showcasing complementary product categories, including furniture, decorative accessories, lighting, area rugs, home office, bedding, floral and more, the venue will be home to two semi-annual markets. During these events, buyers will have the chance to visit permanent and temporary showrooms for all industry segments.

As can be expected on a project of this magnitude, the number of subcontractors required to keep construction on schedule is high. Based on its previous working relationship with the general contractor, the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Las Vegas-based Dynalectric Nevada, an EMCOR company, secured the bid for electrical work. Staffing approximately 80 to 100 electricians on-site at peak time, Dynalectric is responsible for all electrical service to and within the building — from the Nevada Power vault in the sidewalk to every light fixture, electrical outlet, escalator, and elevator in between, says Don Mitchell, project manager at Dynalectric.

According to Jim Reding, tenant improvement director at World Market Center, this project's construction approach is unique, providing a design/build team to meet tenants' needs — from design and architecture to permitting and construction. “This process of meeting the unique needs of each tenant has proven to be a very successful model as our exhibitors are able to communicate their concepts, approve preliminary layouts and cost estimates, and approve final construction documents and construction bids,” he says.

Although his team hasn't quite reached this point of construction yet, Mitchell anticipates that the exterior lighting will be the most difficult light fixture installation he's ever faced. “We will probably have to repel from the roof to the building and make final electrical connections to color-changing LEDs and fluorescent light fixtures in a cove that sweeps up the side of the building,” he says. “Does Spiderman do electrical work?”

Although Mitchell admits this is a bit of an exaggeration, he explains his team will more realistically install most of the fixtures in the structure's three exterior coves from a 90-foot boom lift and the rest from a window-washing basket or platform lowered from the roof. Programmed to gradually fade or change colors simultaneously, the LEDs are positioned in a 150-foot row in 6-foot sections. The coves were designed to hide the light fixtures while allowing light to bounce off the façade of the building and illuminate the displays.

Despite such unique challenges, Mitchell maintains that the most interesting part of this project lies in the concept itself. “When finished, I don't think there will be a facility like it in the entire world — nor do I think this would be successful in any other city,” he says. “Only in Vegas!”

Sidebar: Electrical Needs at a Glance

  • 680 miles of wire and cable between power conductors and fire alarm cable
  • 328 panelboards, each with 42 circuits, for outlets and light fixtures
  • 10,576 light fixtures in the base building
  • 6,770 4-foot track fixtures installed in tenant spaces
  • 19,500 Par 38 track heads installed in tenant spaces
  • 300 transformers located between the base building and tenant spaces
  • 42 lighting control panels used for normal and emergency power