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Las Vegas Grand Prix Plaza could host concerts and more. But obstacles remain

Updated May 23, 2024 - 8:26 am

Clark County officials are exploring how best to license future events planned to be held at Formula One’s Las Vegas Grand Prix Plaza without giving the facility an unfair advantage over Strip resorts and area stadiums.

The plaza area includes the pit building, an on-site race track and other areas within the 39 acres located on the northeast corner of Harmon Avenue and Koval Lane. Las Vegas Grand Prix officials plan to use the space, which parent company Liberty Media has invested $500 million in, year-round and not just during race weekends in November, where the area is the hub of race activity.

Licensing conundrum

“That asset is a marvelous building,” County Commissioner Jim Gibson, who called for the discussion, said during Tuesday’s commission meeting. “This is not a discussion so much about the race as it is about the facility. There are all kinds of events that have wanted to take place there and they have been authorized. But we need to get to a place where the licensing is something that is fixed and in place as opposed to having to deal with it on an ad-hoc basis each time something comes forward.”

Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said race officials have expressed the desire to host a multitude of events, including nightclubs, a concert venue, weddings, race experiences and private events such as luncheons and fundraisers, at the Grand Prix Plaza.

Each one would require various licenses, including liquor licensing, to allow the events to take place.

The facility presents a challenge for the county because the space falls in a gray area between a hotel-casino and an events center, as far as the types of events the grand prix hopes to host at the 300,000-square-foot building and its surrounding land.

“We currently don’t have a business license category that would accommodate all of the activities that are being proposed there,” said Vincent Queano, the county’s director of business licenses.

With the building located just off the Strip, some commissioners expressed that they are mindful about not wanting to create an unfair advantage to events are licensed at Grand Prix Plaza or a blanket permitting process for all events planned there.

“I don’t want them (events at the plaza) to have as much as casinos, because they don’t have the gaming license; they don’t have all of those other things,” Kirkpatrick said. “But maybe it’s a little bit more than an events center. Because we really need to know what’s going on in that calendar.”

Moving forward

The commission directed Queano to work with gaming industry officials and staff to develop parameters for licensing events at the Grand Prix Plaza. Queano would then later bring the plan back before the board for discussion and potential approval.

“We’re at a place now where we know what the building is; we know what it can accommodate,” Gibson said. “I think that we need to figure out how we’re going to license the uses. In particular the uses that affect the liquor licensing code that we have in place.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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