The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors has voted to approve a contract for the purchase of the historic Riviera Hotel & Casino's 26-acre site as the cornerstone for its planned Las Vegas Global Business District. Under the agreement, the LVCVA will purchase the site for a total of $182.5 million.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the closure of the 60-year-old Riviera will take place on May 4, just days after the property reaches its 60th anniversary. The hotel-casino is owned by Starwood Capital Group and is managed by Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming. Paragon will be responsible for closing the property and turning it over to the LVCVA for demolition. Paragon CEO Scott Menke said that the company is working with various Nevada agencies to assist in the transition.
In a statement, LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said that the Global Business District is "the single most important economic development project in the state." The acquisition, she continued, gives the LVCVA "the much-needed space for expansion while also providing a highly visible presence on one of the most famous streets in the world – the Las Vegas Strip – and is essential in helping us to reach our goal of 45 million visitors."
The expansion project is expected to lead to an additional 480,000 new attendees as current conventions grow and through attracting an estimated 20 new trade shows and conventions. The $2.3 billion project is the largest economic development initiative the LVCVA has undertaken since the Las Vegas Convention Center was originally built in the late 1950s.
The Riviera and the Global Business District
The Riviera site is a key component of the LVCVA's land acquisition strategy, providing an entrance to the Global Business District on the Strip. Envisioned to be completed in two phases, the first phase focuses on the Riviera site and includes 750,000 square feet of new exhibit space and 187,500 square feet of supporting meeting space as part of the new 1.8-million-square-foot expansion. Phase Two focuses on renovating the existing convention center and includes a 100,000-square-foot general session space and another 100,000 square feet of meeting space.
Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation increase the facility from its current total footprint of 3.2 million square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet. Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take five to eight years to complete.
The Las Vegas Global Business District is projected to bring 6,000 construction-period jobs to Southern Nevada, and the construction portion alone is projected to generate $3.6 billion in economic activity. When the project is complete, the resulting increase in economic activity could sustain up to 6,000 permanent jobs and generate an estimated incremental economic impact of nearly $700 million and $221 million in wages and salaries.
In addition to the $2.3 billion convention center expansion and renovation, the Las Vegas Global Business District is also developing a global business center that utilizes the facility's World Trade Center designation to attract corporations wanting to interact with the tens of thousands of businesses who visit the convention center each year.
The Las Vegas Convention Center currently hosts approximately 1.2 million convention delegates each year. Those visitors and the conventions they attend support 14,000 local jobs, sustain $530 million in wages, and generate an annual economic impact of $1.7 billion.