by Michael J. Shapiro | February 01, 2016
Why here?
More than 42 million people visited Las Vegas in 2015, another record-breaking year for the city. Convention business played a major role, with many of the largest shows reporting record attendance. The Consumer Electronics Show (pictured) drew an estimated 165,000.

 MGM Resorts International has broken with the venerable Las Vegas tradition of free parking, and in the second quarter will begin charging for both self and valet parking at its Strip properties. The move is part of a $90 million initiative to deal with increased traffic to the soon-to-open T-Mobile Arena, The Park and The Theater at Monte Carlo. A 3,000-space parking structure also will be built, near the Excalibur Hotel.

Las Vegas scooted up Cvent's list of the Top 50 Meetings Cities in the U.S., from third to second place, just behind Orlando. The rankings are based on RFP and booking data from the Cvent Supplier Network.

Beginning April 1, one needn't be in Vegas to visit The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime. Online guided virtual tours will be available courtesy of a new "Moe-Bot" telepresence system.
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Local Update

Recently Opened

 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has branded the 1,613-room SLS Las Vegas complex on the Las Vegas Strip. The 1,324-room SLS hotel, which offers approximately 80,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, is now part of Starwood's new Tribute Portfolio. The property's 289-room Lux Tower, which is undergoing a renovation, will be converted to a W Hotel later this year. The W Las Vegas conversion will add a W Living Room lobby, a separate entrance for W guests, more than 14,000 square feet of meeting space, an Away Spa and a Fit fitness center, along with an outdoor Wet pool deck and bar.
 The International Peace and Education Center, a unique meeting and event space that offers overnight lodging, opened last August near Las Vegas International Airport. The venue has more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, which can accommodate groups of 50 to 720, and can provide sleeping rooms for up to 200 attendees; the overnight accommodations are available only to those booking an event. IPEC has six conference rooms, a multipurpose room and a 10,000-square-foot ballroom. The 5,000-square-foot foyer has 29-foot-high ceilings and a 22-foot-high LED screen. For overnight stays, 49 guest rooms are on-site. Two one-bedroom options also include a living room and wet bar, and one suite offers four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen.

In the Works
 The Riviera, acquired a year ago by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and shuttered in May, could be demolished this spring, according to reports. The acquisition kicked off an ambitious $2.3 billion convention center district plan that will result in the center expanding to the Strip, where the Riviera still currently stands. The cost of the demolition has exceeded expectations and caused some delays, but the LVCVA has approved the necessary budget increase. According to reports, the LVCVA already has an agreement in place with the Con-Expo/ConAgg trade show to use some of the Riviera land for the organization's next event, in March 2017. The trade show requires an enormous amount of space, as its exhibitors deal in heavy construction equipment.

 City, county and state leaders are reviewing a plan for a $12 billion transportation overhaul that would include a light-rail system serving the airport, Strip resorts and downtown; seven new pedestrian bridges over the Strip; a trolley serving the downtown area; and an extension of the monorail to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, with a stop at the Sands Convention Center. The initiative would take decades to complete. The plan recommends creating a Resort Corridor Mobility Association to prioritize decisions related to the project, a step that could soon be put into action.


In search of investors:
Construction has stalled on
The Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino,
an Asian-themed property on the Strip.

 • Construction has stalled on The Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, a development in the works near the corner of the Strip and the Sahara Hotel & Casino. A topping-off ceremony occurred on the site last September, but in November the city rejected the developers' request for millions in subsidies to keep the project moving forward. The hotel, which still is seeking additional investors, is meant to provide "an authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience," according to developers. The 206-room property promises a spa, several authentic Asian restaurants, a multicultural and multilingual atmosphere, and a casino that offers Asian casino games along with several feng shui-designed private gaming parlors.

 MGM Resorts is constructing the new 5,000-seat Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, to open in late 2016. The flexible concert theater will offer various seating configurations and will add another venue to the new entertainment district alongside MGM's The Park and the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena. The venue is being built at the former home of the Blue Man Group, which last fall moved to the Luxor, its original home.

 Tryst, a popular nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas, closed last November after a decade of operation. A new venue, Intrigue, will debut on April 28, which happens to be the Wynn's 11th anniversary. Wynn promises a unique club concept at the new 14,000-square-foot venue, which will accommodate up to 1,200 people. Intrigue will provide "contemporary party music" that crosses a variety of genres, rather than being limited to electronic dance music. The iconic waterfall of Tryst will remain, alongside a glass-enclosed patio that provides views of said cascade. The new venue will have a 1,200-square-foot private club within the club, to be deemed a social media-free zone.

 The 696-room Hooters Casino Hotel, a half block from the Strip, was sold last May for $53.8 million to Trinity Investors. Reports have surfaced that the new owners will reflag the property as a Holiday Inn and operate the casino separately as the Hive Casino. As of press time, however, the hotel continues to operate as Hooters.