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World Market Center Evicts Over 100 Businesses | News

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World Market Center Evicts Over 100 Businesses
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LAS VEGAS -- The World Market Center in Downtown Las Vegas is one of the largest furniture showrooms in the world. When the project first opened three years ago, it was supposed to play a key role in revitalizing downtown. Now court records show eviction filings for the center have more than doubled in the past year. One former tenant says the center is nearly empty.

The center would not grant access to 8 News Now, but at the courthouse there are about 150 eviction actions involving World Market Center this year, compared to about 65 last year.

Although the center was supposed to help furnish a future for Downtown Las Vegas, one former tenant says it could be in financial trouble. He says since the recession, fewer buyers have started coming to the trade shows and many of the businesses began struggling. Yet he says the center refused to rework lease agreements or lower the rent.

"It basically boiled down to they couldn't really help you. All they could do it take your money. That's pretty much what it became and the rent is extremely high. They all have higher rents because when people are making millions its easy to spend thousands, but when people are making thousands it's hard to pay thousands," said Randy Miller with Atlantic Imports.

Miller says he stopping paying rent and moved out after trying to renegotiate his lease about six different times.

"They would have to be defaulting on their loan because I would say half the people have not paid their rent," he said.

Last month a research company reported the World Market Center defaulted on a $217 million loan and that the center wouldn't be able to make payments past January, but the center says the report was wrong, the loan will not default, and the show will go on.

The Downtown Business Alliance says the World Market Center has already played a key role in revitalizing downtown and when the economy recovers they hope it will draw more people to Las Vegas.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the center said, "As a matter of policy we do not comment on occupancy or leasing information.

"Evictions are a result of the state of the economy and lease maturation which are factors in a higher number in 2009 over prior years at World Market Center Las Vegas.  However, we do not take a hard line when a company is genuine in pursuing an amended solution. More times than not, we work with our tenants in financial difficulty.

"Furthermore, despite this economic environment, Las Vegas Market continues to experience more growth than any other market in the country. In the fourth quarter alone World Market Center has signed 63 new or expanded leases totaling more than 200,000 square feet of space. World Market Center is also expanding its platform by launching three new shows in 2010 including a hospitality show, a juvenile home furnishings show, and a show dedicated to gift and home. These shows will bring many new exhibitors to World Market Center Las Vegas."

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