394 = the number of days from March 13, 2020 to April 11, 2021. That marks the time from the last trade show in Las Vegas since the pandemic to the first gathering of more than 250 people in the city that many would argue is the convention capital of the world.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 ended one day early in Las Vegas on Friday, March 13, due to growing concerns about COVID-19. Later that afternoon, U.S. President Donald J. Trump shut down the country for those very same reasons. The triennial show, owned and produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), attracted 130,000+ attendees and was originally scheduled to end Saturday, March 14.
394 days later on April 11, International Market Centers (IMC) opened the Las Vegas Market with permanent showrooms, 200 temporary tradeshow exhibitors and 1,400 attendees from 30 countries and all 50 states. From April 11-15, the event was the first in the newly constructed Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas (WMCLV), a $103 million investment by Blackstone, the private-equity owner of IMC.
The new Expo at WMCLV features 194,785 gross square feet of exhibit space, which is divisible into two halls — North with 97,684 gross square feet and South with 97,101 gross square feet — which can accommodate up to 1,000 booths. The venue offers an expansive lobby area, registration area, onsite shuttle bus depot, attached parking garage and two permanent grab-and-go food service areas.
The building is part of the WMCLV, a complex that features 5 million square feet of permanent showrooms in three buildings and the new Expo, located next to the Premium Outlets and down the street from the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
On April 9, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s wife) and Las Vegas City Councilman Cedric Crear gathered with IMC executives and invited guests to celebrate the official ribbon cutting of what the city and IMC hope will generate economic impact for the community for years to come. The building was completed and ready to open for the Las Vegas Market in July 2020, but due to COVID restrictions, the new venue wouldn’t house exhibits until April 2021.
“These buildings are truly a statement, and I want to thank Blackstone for their investment,” said Goodman. “The Expo is the jewel of the desert in the heart of downtown, and it’s nirvana for smaller conventions. This center, along with this show to be the first to open, is so greatly significant. Despite the pandemic, we in the city of Las Vegas have done everything to keep in compliance with state restrictions. It’s been a difficult year, and we are excited to have people back.”
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