The planned renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center that was canceled in 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the meetings industry will begin next year, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority executives said Wednesday.
The three-year project that is expected to be concluded in 2025 will include construction of a climate-controlled corridor linking the center’s North, Central and South halls.
The $597.6 million project construction will begin after the conclusion of the ConExpo-Con/Agg construction industry trade show in March 2023. The LVCVA has made efforts to coordinate construction around hosting major conventions and trade shows, working with the operators of shows such as CES, MAGIC, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Specialty Equipment Market Association automotive aftermarket show.
Until then, the convention authority will work on developing plans, getting necessary documents prepared and securing permits.
The center’s North and Central halls will be closed for six-month periods during construction in 2024 and 2025, according to a schedule presented in a Wednesday joint meeting of the Las Vegas Convention Center District Committee and the Oversight Panel for Convention Facilities in Clark County.
The two committees oversee Convention Center construction projects and were established to monitor construction of the West Hall expansion that opened last year.
Terry Miller, the head of Miller Project Management LLC, told committee members most of the improvements envisioned in a massive expansion and renovation plan for the Convention Center outlined in 2016 will be undertaken in the updated version approved by the LVCVA board of directors last fall.
In addition to the climate-controlled corridor linking the halls — convention attendees currently have to go outside to go from one hall to another — the project will include an upgrade to the main lobby that will be similar to the West Hall entrance and will include skylights and digital displays for advertising. The LVCVA’s executive offices based in the upper floors at the main lobby will move to the South Hall.
A signature ribbon roofline similar to the West Hall exterior will be added as an architectural enhancement, and technological updates are planned throughout the older halls.
A new lobby on the east end of the South Hall, near the east end of the Convention Center Loop underground transportation station, also is planned.
Bonds to be paid off by 2050
LVCVA Chief Financial Officer Ed Finger told the committees that the project would be funded with bonds that will be paid off through the LVCVA general fund, which receives revenue from hotel room taxes as its primary source of funding.
Bonds are expected to be paid off by 2050.
The LVCVA has a contingency plan to hold off on South Hall improvements should construction costs exceed estimates. The two-story South Hall is the newest of the exhibit halls at the original campus facing Paradise Road. Because it opened in 2004 — the other halls have been in use since 1959 — it was felt that work there could be added as a new construction phase if necessary.
The original expansion and renovation project received a boost from the Nevada Legislature in a special session conducted in 2016. At the same time a hotel room tax was approved to help build the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, lawmakers authorized a 0.5 percentage-point increase in the tax dedicated to the Convention Center projects. It continues to be collected at Southern Nevada resorts.