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  February 25th, 2015 | Written by

What’s Built in Vegas, Stays In Vegas

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Never one to go small, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) will lay $183 million on the table to acquire the historic Riviera Hotel & Casino’s 26-acre site on the Las Vegas Strip and transform it into the cornerstone of a planned Las Vegas Global Business District.

The Global Business District “will provide a distinct look and feel to the area, provide the opportunity for economic development related to the industry, and include the development of 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 LVCVA said in a statement. In addition, the planned District also includes plans for “a centralized transportation hub that would be the centerpiece to a new transportation plan for the entire city.”

Planned in two phases, the first focuses on the Riviera property and the construction of 750,000-square-feet of new exhibit space as well as 187,500-square-feet of supporting meeting space as part of the 1.8-million-square-foot expansion.

The second phase involves a $2.3 billion renovation of the existing Las Vegas Convention Center and the addition of a 100,000-square-foot general session space and 100,000-square-feet of meeting space. Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation increase the facility from its current 3.2 million-square-feet to nearly 5.7 million.

Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take five to eight years to complete. Funding for the acquisition will be drawn from the Authority’s bank credit facility with JPMorgan. The LVCVA has said it will issue long-term bonds to retire the bank credit within the next two years with terms of these bonds following the standard public bonding process. The project is the largest economic development initiative the business promotion group has undertaken since the Las Vegas Convention Center was first built in the late 1950s.

The expansion project is expected to lead to an additional 480,000 new attendees as current conventions grow in size and attract an additional 20 new trade shows and expositions to the city. The existing Center currently hosts approximately 1.2 million convention delegates each year who generate a regional annual economic impact estimated at $1.7 billion.