by Michael J. Shapiro | June 14, 2017
The board of directors of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority yesterday gave its final approval for the $1.4 billion expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The approval marks the final go-ahead required in the long process; Nevada state legislators and Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a bill in 2016 to fund the project, and approvals recently had been secured from the Oversight Panel for Convention Centers in Clark County and the Las Vegas Convention Center District Committee, a sub-committee of the LVCVA board of directors.
 
"Today marks a monumental occasion for not only the LVCVA but also the entire destination," said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the bureau. "We commend the foresight of our community and state leaders for recognizing the importance of the LVCCD, and we are eager to get to work. We will ensure that the LVCVA continues to provide the world-class facility and experience our clients expect when they come to Las Vegas."
 
Work on the ambitious project already has begun with the demolition of the Riviera Hotel and Casino and the subsequent construction of a new parking lot and outdoor exhibit space on the premises. The first phase, projected to be completed by 2021, will result in a 1.4 million-square-foot expansion of the facility, with 600,000 square feet of new exhibit space, as well as new meeting rooms and support space. 
 
Phase two of the project, which will involve a complete renovation of the existing 3.2 million-square-foot convention center facility, should be completed by 2023. No business will be displaced throughout the construction and renovation project.
 
Last year's legislation approved a 0.5 percent increase in Clark County's room tax to fund the project. The tax hike went into effect early this year, bringing the occupancy levy to 12.5 percent. 
 
The project is expected to support almost 14,000 construction jobs and 7,800 full-time permanent jobs once complete. The construction phase could generate $1.4 billion for the local economy, while the expanded facility is projected to attract 1 million additional visitors each year, for an annual incremental impact of $810 million. The LVCVA identified 70 additional events that could be brought to Las Vegas as a result of the expansion, which could grow the region's meetings and conventions business by 50 percent.
 
The LVCVA now will begin to solicit proposals from architectural firms.