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Committee suggests proceeding on $1.4B Las Vegas Convention Center upgrade

Updated June 1, 2017 - 1:41 pm

Two down, one to go.

A committee formed to advise the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on its plan to expand and renovate the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday unanimously approved a recommendation to proceed on the $1.4 billion project.

The recommendation from the seven-member Las Vegas Convention Center District Committee, composed of members of the LVCVA board of directors, will go to the full board for final consideration on June 13.

The committee’s review of the expansion and renovation plan has run parallel to another by the Oversight Panel for Convention Facilities in Clark County, which unanimously approved the same plan on May 25.

The seven-member Oversight Panel includes construction and financial experts from the city’s major resorts. The committee has four elected officials and three representatives of the business and resort community.

Two phases

During the hour-long meeting, LVCVA executives and their contracted construction manager, Terry Miller of Cordell Corp., explained details of the project, which, at the recommendation of the Oversight Panel, was split into two phases.

Phase 2 — the LVCVA is considering Phase 1 to be the acquisition and demolition of the Riviera hotel-casino — is an $860 million expansion that would add a 600,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 840,000 square feet of meeting rooms, pre-function, support and service space.

Phase 3 would be a $540 million renovation of 3.2 million square feet of existing facilities in the Convention Center’s North, Central and South halls. A key piece of the renovation is a 200,000-square-foot north-south connector to enable conventioneers the ability to access all exhibit halls without going outdoors.

The new Phase 2 exhibit hall would be built on the existing Gold and Diamond parking lots, likely along the eastern periphery of the Gold lot abutting Paradise Road.

As at the Oversight Panel approval meeting, there were no points of contention or debate prior to the recommendation for approval.

Oversight help

MGM Resorts International executive Chuck Bowling, who chaired the committee, said he always thought having construction and finance experts helping with the oversight of the process would be a good thing.

“I think there might have been some general concerns on it being another layer of approval that may slow down the process,” Bowling said. “I always stated from the beginning that to be able to tap into the expertise and the knowledge of the greatest builders and designers of massive hospitality buildings in the world is an advantage.”

One of the biggest critics of adding an oversight panel was Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a member of the committee. On Thursday, she said she’s changed her tune.

“It’s because of the composition of who these people are,” Goodman said of the Oversight Panel. “And you know we have every one of the resort corridor major players having representation. Government is so slow and just to put another layer in … all these years, the Convention Center has operated without that extra layer. I think it’s because how this committee is being run. They want to get it done, too.”

Bowling didn’t have a prediction on the June 13 vote, but he’s confident.

“It took a little time to get everybody on the same page, which was fair, and with all that being done, I think we’ll be able to move quickly and produce a product that we and our customers are going to be proud of,” he said.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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