DALLAS — FashionCenterDallas, the future home of the wholesale apparel market here, moved closer to its March debut at groundbreaking ceremonies on Friday.

Located on the top half of the 15-story World Trade Center north of downtown Dallas, the $20 million FashionCenterDallas project comprises over one million square feet. It will replace the nearby International Apparel Mart, which will remain fully operational until next March.

“The construction of FashionCenterDallas is part of a massive remerchandising project to create a one-stop marketplace for retailers from around the world,” said Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Market Center. “Adding apparel resources to the existing gift, home decor and lighting showrooms in the World Trade Center will create unmatched market synergy and unlimited buying and selling opportunities.”

The groundbreaking ceremonies included a champagne reception and fashion show in the WTC’s sleek atrium and a luncheon in a giant draped white tent on the building’s top floor, with construction crews working nearby.

“The Dallas Market Center is really to be applauded for creating the new fashion center,” said Suzanne Taylor, president of the Dallas chapter of Fashion Group International. “It means great things for the wholesale apparel industry here and will attract even more buyers to Dallas, who inevitably will respond to the cross-shopping opportunities in the building.”

The Dallas Market Center is the world’s largest wholesale venue comprising 117 acres and five buildings, totaling nearly 7 million square feet. It generates $7.5 billion yearly in estimated wholesale transactions. More than 12,000 apparel lines are shown at wholesale, including women’s, men’s and children’s wear.

The DMC campus is larger than the Pentagon and is home to more than 40 markets each year, the largest of which attract more than 50,000 visitors.

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