AmericasMart tops off Building Two West Wing
Jenny Heinzen York, editor in chief, Home Accents Today -- Casual Living, 1/14/2008 9:03:00 AM
AmericasMart’s Building Two West Wing is a step closer to completion as the external has been finished, and AmericasMart officials hosted a topping-out ceremony last week during the International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in Atlanta.
Phase 1 of the new structure is slated to open in January 2009, with 10 floors connecting directly to the existing Building 2 Gift Mart.
The building will be completed just prior to the July 2008 show, and there may be a soft opening at that time, AmericasMart officials told Home Accents Today.
“AmericasMart is contemplating having a soft opening which would help exhibitors and buyers get a better feel and understand the building itself and how it integrates with the rest of the campus,” said Jeffrey L. Portman, president and CEO.
Once opened, floors 1-4 will offer temporary exhibit halls including High Design, expanded gourmet, housewares and resort collections, and an expanded garden products collection, plus new categories in development for 2009 introduction. The floors all feature 17-foot ceilings,
Floor 6 will house new and expanded General Gift showrooms in extension of Building Two’s six-floor General Gift category.
Floor 7 is the new home for the Gourmet Gallery/Gift & Resort, with floor 8 housing Gourmet product and housewares, in a casual environment reminiscent of an outdoor marketplace/streetscape. Floor 8 gourmet and housewares showroom spaces will surround a new state-of-the-art, real-time demonstration kitchen for broadcast-television-quality culinary demonstrations and events.
According to Portman, “there will always be something cooking,” noting that for the January 2009 opening, there will be prominent celebrity chefs doing demos throughout the show.
Floors 9 and 10 will become the new home to The Gardens -- Casual Living & Home Décor -- in a setting that features dramatic new spaces employing a two-story, fiber-optic waterfall.
The space that was previously High Design and The Gardens in Building 1 will be backfilled with additional home furnishings companies, particularly those catering to the middle and high segments of the market with a specialty store focus.
“We are not just a gift market,” Portman said. “We are the No. 1 gift market in the country and we want to offer an assortment of casual, case good and upholstered furniture, not to mention build on our strength in home accents.”
Portman said although this is a challenging time in the marketplace, AmericasMart feels strongly that this is the right time to make this move.
“You should never base your business on whether or you’re going to have a recession,” he said. “You have to do what makes sense for your business and what makes sense for the future. We think what we offer is very unique and not matched.
“Now is the time where most people are pulling back, so we think now is the time for us to go after that market share. We looked at the marketplace very carefully and looked at our backlog of demand before moving ahead,” he said, noting that officials expect 90% of all the space to be leased in time for the opening.
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