William E. Boyajian, the former president of the Gemological Institute of America, has become managing director of the World Jewelry Center, an ambitious attempt to build a retail and wholesale jewelry mecca near downtown Las Vegas.
The proposed 1 million–square–foot center, scheduled to open in 2009/10, will include both a three-floor retail center and 50-story office building designed to house jewelry wholesalers plus a few floors of luxury condos.
The 50-story building will be the tallest office building in Las Vegas, Boyajian said, and one of the tallest buildings in the Western United States. Boyajian said he hopes to attract all kinds of jewelry wholesalers, as well as shipping services and other supporting businesses to form a “one-stop shop.”
“We are not moving New York to Las Vegas,” he told JCK. “We are not competing with other centers. We hope to create a new center.”
The retail center will include a proposed museum of gems, meant to attract some of the 40 million annual visitors to Las Vegas.
Boyajian, who will continue to be based in California, said the retail tenants will be “middle market to middle upper market.”
“The Tiffanys, Cartiers, and Graffs are already in the major hotels,” he says. “We are looking for quality, value, and service. It won’t be a flea market or a bazaar. There will be rules about dress code and ethics. We feel we can be fairly selective.”
The World Jewelry Center is the brainchild of Robert Zarnegin, president and CEO of Probity International, best known for the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel. It is planning on a “foreign trade zone” designation, which will make it easier to attract foreign companies. MVI Marketing is providing “strategic advisory services.”