Updated June 8, 2021 - 12:01 pm
It was only fitting for the 2021 World of Concrete trade show to usher in the opening of the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Tuesday.
“Concrete is the most commonly used building material in the construction industry,” he said in a grand opening ribbon-cutting for the new $1 billion hall.
“You look around at all these high-rise buildings, concrete makes the foundation of those buildings, I did some research and it’s used twice as much as all of the other building materials combined,” Sisolak said. “It is solid. It is real. It is reliable. Just as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is the same thing. It could not be a more fitting opening for this convention center than the World of Concrete.”
He could have borrowed that research from Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill, who worked in the construction industry, specifically with concrete, before being appointed as the state’s economic development director by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
‘Been a long time coming’
Sisolak was the lead speaker for the event on a breezy Tuesday morning where the opening of the nation’s first major trade show coincided with the opening of the first large gathering at the new West Hall.
“We spent 15-plus months carefully working to balance the health and safety of the public with our economic vitality,” Sisolak said. “It’s been a long time coming, Nevada, but we made it.”
The LVCVA debuted the 1.4 million-square-foot expansion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by doors opening to one of Informa Markets’ largest events.
The 30-minute ceremony also featured Hill, LVCVA board Chairman John Marz — a Henderson City Council member — and Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
The local government leaders applauded Informa Markets CEO Charlie McCurdy, whose company produces World of Concrete. Without the confidence McCurdy and his staff gave to Nevada, Clark County and the LVCVA, the four-day show that opened with educational events Monday wouldn’t have happened, Hill said.
Hill said that negotiations with McCurdy began around Christmas and Informa needed a firm commitment that Las Vegas could host the show by March. Kirkpatrick worked with Clark County health officials to affirm that the Las Vegas Convention Center could safely host a large gathering.
Conventions and trade shows were shuttered in March 2020 when the COVID-19 virus began spreading rapidly across the world.
The arrival of World of Concrete signals the return of meetings and conventions to Las Vegas, named the No. 1 trade show destination in North America for 26 consecutive years by the Trade Show News Network.
The addition of the West Hall brings the total square feet of meeting space in the destination to 14 million and makes the LVCC the second-largest facility in the country.
During a normal year, the meeting and convention industry represents $11.4 billion in economic impact to the area. Globally, trade shows facilitate $325 billion in business sales and 1.3 million jobs.
World of Concrete’s arrival comes on the heels of Las Vegas’ full reopening to 100 percent capacity on June 1.
The West Hall features a contemporary design, an abundance of natural light and 600,000 square feet of exhibition space, including 328,000 square feet of column-free space, the largest column-free exhibition space in North America. An open-air atrium features a 10,000-square-foot digital screen developed, the largest digital display in a convention center in the United States. A 14,000-square-foot terrace can hold receptions of up to 2,000 attendees, offering views of the Strip.
The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, the underground transit system developed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company designed to shuttle convention attendees throughout the 200-acre campus in all-electric Tesla vehicles, also became fully operational Monday.
Construction on the facility began in September 2018 and continued through the pandemic.
Informa Markets plans to host 10 additional events in the destination before the end of the year. World of Concrete will return to the Convention Center next January.