International Market Centers (IMC) announced it will invest $280 million in its three market centers at a media briefing this morning. Head of International Market Centers Bob Maricich gave a powerpoint presentation outing three plans of the total 16 for the new investments, ensuring more developments would be announced later this year.
Part of the expansion includes the new Expo at World Market Center, which was announced last year. The new state-of-the-art facility will encompass 315,000 gross square feet with 110,000 rentable square feet. Marketgoers will be able to access this new building through Building C, and it will be adjacent to the parking structure and transportation center.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on January 28 at Las Vegas Market. More details will follow. Maricich says he expects shovels to be in the ground at the end of February, and completion is expected for June 2020.
With this new Expo Center, Maricich says IMC will be open to bringing new trade shows to the venue. Hospitality seems to be a priority, but Maricich also referenced other industries that would be a good fit for tenants in the space.
IMC will also be investing in its CRM and data analytics technology. The goal is to better capture, manage and analyze audience data across markets. In looking at buyer behavior, IMC wants to be able to tell a buyer story: who they are, where they're coming from and how long they're staying.
"We can have a much more fact-based decision on buyer behaviors," Maricich said.
Additionally, AmericasMart Atlanta will see additional investment in its digital, web and mobile app.
That's not the only investment in AmericasMart Atlanta. IMC will be enhancing the arrival experience for buyers in three areas: curb appeal, lobby layout and onsite amenities. All three areas aim to improve the experience of buyers arriving at market and make the experience more pleasant.
"We're committed to creating energy and enthusiasm when you walk in," Maricich said.
The work will be done in phases, and Maricich says the company is working with layouts and architects and securing permits from the city. Maricich also mentioned plans for a restaurant connected to the building, but no official word on that yet.
Finally, Maricich stated that each campus and market brand will remain intact under IMC corporate umbrella brand.
The reason for the investment comes from IMC's desire to add value to markets and ensuring markets last into the next generation. This includes enhancing the buyer experience, something Maricich said was central to this investment. Buyer attendance at markets is mostly regional, he explained, so markets would be focusing on how to better serve their attendees. The northeast region, which sees the lowest attendance at any of the three markets, has potential for growth opportunities, Maricich added.
"We have to invest those kinds of monies," he said, "and now we're in a position where we can really enhance those marketplaces."