Las Vegas Convention Center project could cost around $935M

Updated September 6, 2018 - 5:56 pm

The Las Vegas Convention Center expansion could cost as much as $935.1 million, about 9 percent higher than the original $860 million estimate, but project executives say the increase should be manageable.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors is expected to consider a guaranteed maximum price from the project’s construction manager, recommended Thursday by a board committee.

The Las Vegas Convention Center District committee voted 4-0 with two members absent to recommend approval of a guaranteed maximum price of $758.1 million for the expansion. The committee and the Oversight Panel for Convention Facilities in Clark County received briefings on the project in separate meetings Thursday.

“We’re comfortable with the price,” said LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill. “The economy in Las Vegas is really vibrant and that’s a great thing, but it does make for a tight construction (worker) market and I have a lot of experience with what happens with prices in tight construction markets.”

Hill said he believes the potential for a tight construction market with workers spread out over a multitude of Southern Nevada building projects over the next three years contributed to a high guaranteed maximum price.

New centerpiece

New York-based Turner Construction and Martin-Harris Construction of Las Vegas was selected in March as the “construction-manager-at-risk” for the new 600,000-square-foot exhibition hall.

On Thursday, they presented a contract of $792.1 million, which includes the $758.1 million guaranteed maximum construction price for the building that is expected to become the new centerpiece of Las Vegas Convention Center when it opens in January 2021.

But that doesn’t count $123 million in furnishings and soft costs for the building’s interior and the relocation of some NV Energy power lines. That brings the total cost to $915.1 million.

And, during recent multiple reviews from other independent groups, another $20 million in project additions were identified and the final cost estimate has reached $935.1 million. LVCVA officials have been working under an estimated cost of $860 million, which is the expansion portion of a multiphased $1.4 billion effort that also includes a major renovation of the center’s existing exhibition halls, due for completion by 2023.

Under a construction-manager-at-risk development method, the manager provides a maximum price and must deliver the building by a set deadline with failure resulting in a series of financial penalties. The LVCVA is counting on taking delivery of the new exhibition hall by Dec. 1, 2020, in order to prepare for the arrival of CES 2021.

Being on time a priority

Committee Chairman Chuck Bowling, an MGM Resorts International executive, said completing the project on time is a priority for the project.

As part of Thursday’s review by the Oversight Panel — a seven-member group of resort industry development professionals that was required by the Senate Bill 1 financing legislation — new details of the building were provided by Design Las Vegas principal Robert Svedberg.

Svedberg showed schematics of the subdividable exhibit hall floor and three floors of meeting rooms off the Convention Center Drive entrance. Architects working on the project believe the curved shape of the points of entry will become a building design icon, that the top-floor outdoor plaza with views of the Strip will become signature space and an abundance of technology and massive video screens will be key features to the new building.

The footprint of the hall is being shifted slightly to the west to provide more room and better access to trucks delivering materials to loading docks on the east side of the building.

Hill said back-of-the-house access to electricity and communication wiring conduits will assure the hall of being able to keep up with changing technology as it is introduced.

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

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