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October 24, 2014

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Receiver to be appointed for World Market Center

Image

Steve Marcus

The World Market Center in downtown Las Vegas.

Map of World Market Center

World Market Center

495 S Grand Central Pkwy, Las Vegas

A judge on Wednesday approved a request by lenders that a receiver take over at least part of the big World Market Center furniture industry showroom complex in downtown Las Vegas.

Rather than fight the receivership request in a lawsuit and pay $27.6 million to cure defaults under a $345 million loan, counsel for the World Market Center have told the lenders' attorney they do not oppose the requested receivership for a portion of the property known as WMCV Phase 2.

Clark County District Court Judge Jerome Tao approved the request in that case.

One of the lenders' attorneys, Michael Stein of the Las Vegas law firm Snell & Wilmer LLP, told Tao that counsel for the furniture complex requested some time for the transition, which Stein is not opposed to.

A hearing is set for next month on a receivership request for a second part of the center, known as WMCV Phase 1. In that case, the alleged amount needed to cure defaults on a $225 million loan is $19 million.

The lenders, whose trustee is Bank of America, are proposing that Douglas Wilson of the Douglas Wilson Companies be named as receiver. The receiver would run the property pending its sale or foreclosure, the lenders have said.

"No dispute exists that borrower is in default under the loan documents," Snell & Wilmer attorneys representing the lenders said in updated court filings this week.

"Borrower contractually consented to the appointment of a receiver upon default and ... Nevada law entitles lender to the appointment of a receiver as a matter of law," the attorneys' filing said, adding their goal has been to take over the property by April 1 so they can collect rents due from tenants that day.

The receivership action in Las Vegas comes amidst a report last week that Related Cos., one of the developers of the World Market Center, is negotiating to take over part the complex and other furniture trade show centers around the country.

In a statement Thursday on the receivership appointment, the World Market Center said: "As a result of the recent filing, we anticipated this action and continue to work cooperatively with ownership and our lenders toward a financial restructuring that will enable World Market Center continued growth. In the short-term, we remain focused on running the business and capitalizing on the tremendous success of the Winter Market as we prepare for August."

The World Market Center -- itself hurt by vacancies and unpaid rent by some tenants during the recession -- plans its next industry market event Aug. 1-5.

The center, a landmark in downtown, looms over the Interstate 15/Interstate 515 Spaghetti Bowl interchange and totals 5 million square feet on 57 acres.

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  1. Lest anyone miss the point, the WMC is still operating, still busy, still a home base for the furniture trade, still home to a great an mostly undiscovered restaurant, and still in the middle of the revitalizing downtown. All that is at stake here is ownership, not operations.