May 29, 2024 9:37 PM
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Las Vegas Convention Center $600 Million Renovations Update

By Ray Smith, Exhibit City News

Las Vegas Convention Center has embarked on a $600 million renovation that enhances the east entrance to the South Hall, making it easily accessible to convention-goers arriving from the 1,500-space Platinum parking lot and picking up the Vegas Loop at the south station.

It’s going to become the “real entrance” to the convention center, Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, says during a Jan. 8 media tour of the new facility.

“This has always been the back end. We wanted to break up the South Hall and make it more usable,” Hill describes the indoor lobby that will provide pre-function space and serve as an entry to the 800,000-square-foot South Hall. An outdoor plaza is landscaped with 500 plants and shrubs, including Holly Oak and Mexican Bird of Paradise trees.

The renovation also features a new 4,000-square-foot boardroom on the South Hall second floor, nearly twice the size of the previous room, with increased public seating capacity and contemporary design elements such as concrete, marble and warm wood tones. The centerpiece is a 32-foot-by-9-foot LED screen for video presentations.

Hill and his administrative staff have new offices, which were not open for the media tour.

2024 OUTLOOK

Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 convention center by the Wall Street Journal, LVCC anticipates slight growth in 2024 convention business, with 51 tradeshows on the books and estimated attendance of 1.3 million, Hill reports. That’s up from 48 shows and 1.2 million attendees in 2023, and probably the extent of growth during construction, the CEO adds.

“We have such a great relationship with our customers, they committed to be here through the construction,” he says.

January kicked off with CES, touted as the world’s largest technology show with 130,000 attendees and 3,500 exhibitors. Other major tradeshows in the rotation for 2024 include World of Concrete in January, NAB in April, and SEMA in November. The NAACP will host its national convention in Las Vegas for the first time in July.

Meetings and conventions are critical to Las Vegas’s economy, helping to fill 156,000 hotel rooms during the middle of the week, Hill notes. The industry brings business customers to Las Vegas, exposes them to all the city has to offer, and brings them back as leisure travelers. Average convention visitor spending in 2022 was one-third higher than spending by leisure travelers, according to LVCVA research.

NEW ATTRACTIONS

Visitors are excited about the opening of the 67-story Fontainebleau hotel, adding 3,644 rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space to the market. That brings the city’s total to 15 million square feet of convention space, more than any other U.S. destination.

The $3.7 billion Fontainebleau, completed 16 years after breaking ground, follows the development of Resorts World and LVCC’s West Hall, and complements nearby properties such as Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.

Las Vegas is becoming even more attractive as a destination with the buildout of the north Strip, Hill says, with those properties “playing off each other.” They will be connected by the Vegas Loop, the underground tunnel built by The Boring Co. that uses Tesla electric cars to transport millions of attendees across the vast LVCC campus.

Tunnels to Resorts World are finished and stations will open soon, Hill says. Tunnel boring to Wynn Las Vegas will start in late March. Permits for other tunnels are in the works.

STILL AHEAD

Renovation of the convention center under general contractor Penta Building will continue through 2025. Highlights include:

  • An expansive grand lobby replacing the current entrance between the North and Central halls.
  • Transformation of the existing Central Hall grand concourse with new carpet, lighting and digital screens.
  • Extending the signature exterior ribbon roof from the West Hall to the North and Central halls to create architectural continuity.
  • Climate-controlled concourse between the North and South halls to provide interior access across all halls.
  • Improved technology throughout LVCC, including LED monitors outside every meeting room and enhanced sound and digital signage.

These renovations are past due – the Central Hall being nearly 65 years old – and were planned prior to the Great Recession and pandemic, Hill explains. Customers are “universally thrilled” with the West Hall, and the South Hall renovation allows the convention authority to market to new customers.

“Now we have a Class A facility in a Class A destination,” Hill says. “That matters to show organizers and that matters to the destination as well. What they expect when they come here, just the feel and accommodations of the buildings themselves.”

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