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Social distancing demands cause LVCVA project’s price tag to grow

Updated June 10, 2020 - 10:19 am

Social distancing requirements due to the coronavirus outbreak will result in a higher price tag for the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new West Hall project.

Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told his board of directors Tuesday that it hasn’t been determined how much more the $980.3 million project will cost, but it’s likely to be less than 1 percent greater, he said.

The increase was the result of required social distancing on the job site.

The extra cost probably wouldn’t be determined until the fourth quarter, he said.

The building is still on track for a December completion, in time for the 2021 CES in January, despite minor delays in getting materials on the site, Hill said. The supply chain problems have been resolved.

The price overrun comes at a time when revenue is expected to be down. In addition to less room tax revenue coming in from resorts affected by the pandemic, Hill said Tuesday that the footprint and visitor volume of shows that continue to be on the books through the rest of the year are expected to be smaller.

Some hotels open

Hotels are slowly starting to reopen, but many are running at lower capacities.

Convention center space is rented to conventions and trade shows by the square foot.

Hill said there are some customers that remain on the convention center calendar coming as early as August — and he’s grateful to those shows’ loyalty to Las Vegas — but he’s expecting a drop-off in volume from those that are still coming.

“We’re excited about the progress that’s been made,” Hill said of the construction project that is now 85 percent completed. “It’s impressive from the outside, but it’s even more impressive on the inside.”

LVCVA Chief Operating Officer Brian Yost summarized work that’s underway.

Yost said conduit has been placed for streetlight wiring, the building’s overhead heating and air-conditioning ducting is being installed, framing is underway for the food-preparation area in the building’s food court, and vanities and tile have been installed in the building’s restrooms.

Elevators and escalators are being added and four automated spacers that will enable the 600,000-square-foot exhibit hall floor to be subdivided for simultaneous events have gone in.

Outside, concrete has been poured for sidewalks and pads, the east-side loading dock area has been paved, and landscaping is going in around the building.

Yost said 2.7 million man-hours have been worked on the project.

People-mover progress

Hill also updated progress on The Boring Co.’s $52.5 million underground people-mover project and hinted that there may be some Las Vegas-inspired surprises in the twin tunnels that will deliver a fleet of Tesla vehicles from one end of the convention center to the other.

The two tunnels, essentially lighted tubes with a concrete roadbed, may get some special lighting to make them more attractive. Hill said the tunnels wouldn’t be lined in neon, but he said some coloring may be added.

Hill also updated work on the project’s middle station — the only one that will be completely underground.

“It’s a really interesting construction project and it’s going to be a beautiful station,” Hill said. “Instead of building that station from the ground up, we’re building that station from the ground down.

“We excavated about 12 feet and we’re in the process of putting in the roof trusses,” he said. “Once those roof trusses are completely in, we’ve already started the excavation down to the level at which they will put the foundation and the floor and in that process, they will remove that tunnel that is already constructed through it.”

The middle station also will have a video board on one of its walls to deliver information to conventioneers or for advertising.

Hill said if the coronavirus is still a concern when the system is supposed to open to the public in January, each of the 62 vehicles in the fleet will be subject to cleaning after every ride.

The Convention Center Loop will be operated free to conventioneers, and Hill has indicated he expects the system to become an attraction on its own because it will be the first of its kind.

The two stations on the ends of the line will be above ground, one near the east end of the South Hall and the other at the southwest corner of the West Hall.

Hill said two separate underground people-mover projects linking Strip resorts Encore Las Vegas and Resorts World Las Vegas to the convention center won’t be tied in to the Convention Center Loop.

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

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