Las Vegas Plans Mind-Blowing $2.5 Billion Convention Center Expansion

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Size does matter; especially when it comes to vying for business in the ultra-competitive global, multi-billion dollar meetings, convention, and event industry. Las Vegas meeting space is about to take a giant leap forward, ensuring that our city will continue to reign as one of the world’s leading convention destinations for the foreseeable future.

This monumental expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center all the way from Paradise Road to the Las Vegas Strip will pave the way for a new trade center and one of the biggest multimodal transportation hubs in the world. Equally large is the ginormous price tag, which is upwards of $2.5 billion when the entire multi-year project is completed.

A really big idea

Las Vegas event planners and Las Vegas destination management companies such as Destination Fabulous DMC should rejoice at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s bold and audacious vision for the future (and believe me, we are). It will no doubt have an impact on virtually every facet of the Las Vegas destination management industry, including Las Vegas convention services, group activities, transportation services, Las Vegas event production, entertainment, and Las Vegas group tours.

There’s an old saying that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Well this isn’t just a tide; it’s a tsunami of change that will impact the Las Vegas economy for decades to come. As Roy Scheider famously said in Jaws: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Or, as comedian Redd Foxx said while clutching his chest and falling onto the couch: “It’s the big one, Elizabeth!”

Bigger is better – way better

The official name of this enormous project is the “Las Vegas Global Business District.” It will encompass a total makeover of the 54-year-old Las Vegas Convention Center, a new World Trade Center, and a multi-modal transportation hub. Representatives of the Regional Transportation Commission, Las Vegas Monorail, and the limousine and taxi industries are already meeting to help define this key component of the project. The LVCVA has already conducted extensive research, polling managers of major Las Vegas trade shows like CES to determine their needs and wants. Plans entail building up to 1.8 million sq. ft. of additional meeting rooms and general session space, new food and beverage outlets, a new concourse connector, expanded lobby space, and new outdoor gathering places. The revamped and upgraded facility will also incorporate historic design cues, such as the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and architectural elements reminiscent of the Convention Center’s original saucer-shaped rotunda.

Thanks to a partnership with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Las Vegas Convention Center is the only facility designated as a World Trade Center. The proposed Las Vegas International Trade Center will provide high-end, Class A office space designed as a place for the top Fortune 1000 companies to do business year-round. A World Trade Association will be developed with a mandate to spur business development and global investment opportunities.

Money plays

The LVCVA has already lined up $150 million for the project’s first phase. It has already taken the first step in the process by purchasing the historic Riviera Hotel & Casino, which will be demolished in the near future to make way for the project’s expansion to Las Vegas Boulevard. It is anticipated that the entire project will take up to 10 years to build. It’s estimated that the project will put more than 6,000 construction workers to work, as well as result in more than 6,000 permanent full-time jobs. The anticipated impact to our local economy is just shy of $700 million. Once completed, the Las Vegas Global Business District will become the largest meeting and convention complex in North America.

Big news down by the Bay

Down the road on the south end of the Strip, Mandalay Bay has big expansion plans as well. The exotic, tropical themed resort will continue to position itself as a major player in the Las Vegas meeting and convention industry with a major 350,000 sq. ft. expansion of its sprawling convention facilities. Once completed the Mandalay Bay Convention Center will span more than two million square feet; making it the 5th largest convention complex in North America. The project will entail new exhibit space, more ballrooms and function areas, and more underground parking. Additionally, the expanded facility will continue to achieve outstanding environmental accolades; having received the coveted LEED Gold certification. New rooftop solar panels will generate approximately 3.4M kilowatt hours of electricity; enough to power up to 1,300 homes.

As David Peckinpaugh, CMP, president of Maritz Travel stated: “This expansion takes what is already perhaps the best meeting space in Las Vegas to the next level and puts Mandalay Bay in a truly unique position around the globe with its ability to host premier meetings and conventions.” The approximately $68 million expansion is expected to be completed by January 2016.

From the LVCA’s ambitious Global Business District to Mandalay Bay’s major convention expansion, the future of the Las Vegas meeting and convention industry, as well as that of the Las Vegas destination management industry, looks brighter than the brightest neon lights on the fabulous Strip. We applaud the vision of the LVCVA and Mandalay Bay and can’t wait to help you book your Las Vegas event at these magnificent new facilities when they open.

Be fabulous.