Las Vegas seems to never stop expanding its meetings offerings. The latest development: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Board of Directors voted in late February to purchase the 26-acre site on which the Riviera Hotel & Casino currently stands. The LVCVA is purchasing the $182.5 million site in hopes that it will provide an iconic entrance for the Global Business District on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Last year, we hosted the most convention delegates and the most meetings and conventions since 2008,” says Chris Meyer, vice president of global business sales for the LVCVA. “Las Vegas hosted more than 22,000 meetings, conventions and trade shows in 2014 with 5.2 million delegates. The meetings and convention industry is as strong as it’s been in the last six years with a 1.2 percent increase from 2013 to 2014.”
That impact is a large reason why the LVCVA is taking on the $2.3 billion Global Business District project, the largest economic development initiative that the organization has undergone since the Las Vegas Convention Center was originally built in the late 1950s. The project includes an expansion and renovation of the convention center, as well as the opportunity for economic development related to the industry. For instance, the district plans to house a global business center that will attract corporations wanting to interact with the thousands of businesses that visit the convention center each year. The Global Business District also includes plans for a centralized transportation hub that would serve as a new transportation plan for all of Vegas.
“Las Vegas is poised for growth,” says Meyer. “Our largest trade shows, like many of our existing shows, want to expand, and we also have the opportunity to attract new business. The expansion project could lead to an additional 480,000 new attendees as current conventions grow, and up to 20 new trade shows and major conventions may relocate here.”
The project will likely be completed in two phases. The first phase will focus on the Riviera site, adding 750,000 sf of new exhibit space and 187,500 sf of supporting meeting space as part of a 1.8 million-sf expansion of the convention center. The second phase focuses on renovating the existing convention center and includes a 100,000-sf general session space and another 100,000 sf of meeting space. Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation will increase the facility from its current total footprint of 3.2 million sf to nearly 5.7 million sf. Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take between five and eight years to complete.
“Having an iconic entrance on Las Vegas Boulevard elevates the convention center’s prestige and brings it in alignment with the world-class resorts on the Strip and the Las Vegas brand that our clients are accustomed to,” says Meyer. “Beyond the address, the expansion gives trade-show planners more options when bringing business to Las Vegas. We are developing the convention center of the future that will feature latest in technology, transportation and sustainability.”