Cordell Corp. rose as the top choice to oversee the five-to-eight year development of the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, also known as the Las Vegas Global Business District (LVGBD).
During the first meeting on April 3, five of the six LVGBD committee members — who are also Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) board members — approved an owner’s representative agreement with the California-based private management firm. The company is already licensed in Nevada, and its principals plan to permanently move to the area to hire local talent for the project.
The committee also approved $270,000 for the first phase of the project, which includes a plan to dismantle the Riviera Hotel & Casino to further the $2.3 billion expansion. Committee members noted the teardown of the hotel should be done quickly to avoid ruining the North end of The Strip experience and appearance for visitors and locals.
Initial concerns arose after committee members learned Cordell would be managing the expansion throughout its entirety, not just the first phase. Committee Chair Chuck Bowling added that there needed to be metrics demonstrating Cordell’s success during each phase of construction.
Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of operations at LVCVA, explained that the project needed a committed team from beginning to end to avoid halts in operation.
Jicinsky and LVCVA Legal Counsel Luke Puschnig also explained that if Cordell doesn’t meet certain key performance indicators, LVCVA would be able to cancel the contract and not fund the next phase with Cordell at the helm.
“With any contract, I always have a way out. If we don’t like it, we can cancel the contract,” explained Puschnig.
The LVCVA executive staff seemed confident about Cordell and said they’d hold themselves accountable if for some reason Cordell fails as owner’s representative.
“Nobody came close [to Cordell]. Terry Miller has worked with us before. It’s not on-the-job training. He understands the goals of the LVCVA to fill hotel rooms. He gets that perspective,” added Jicinsky.
Their confidence most likely stems from having consulted with Cordell in the past as well as the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process LVCVA staff undertook with the help of third parties. The RFQ involved interviewing six other seasoned companies.
Fronted by Principals Terry K. Miller and Don C. Webb, Cordell specializes in managing the expansion and renovation of well-known facilities in the U.S. and Canada. This includes direct project management from Miller at Boston, San Diego, Kansas City and Ontario, Canada, convention centers as well as sports stadiums. Before retiring, Miller was also CEO of HNTB Design Build.
Webb is a founding executive at SMG, and he and Miller combined have 70 years of experience. This includes 20 years of owner’s representative experience.
The LVGBD committee was formed this past March. Its six board members are responsible for anything and everything involving the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion. Their goal is to stay transparent to the public throughout the project. The next meeting is projected to be July 28 at 9:00 a.m. in Las Vegas Convention Center.