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LVCVA plans renovations for convention center area

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA) has started discussing plans to renovate and re-create the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). The 3.2 million-square-foot facility, however, will not be the only focus of this makeover.

The LVCVA also plans to create and brand the neighborhood surrounding the 53-year-old convention center. This area will include the streets leading to and away from the tradeshow venue, creating a district and community feel.

“We’ve had 25 straight months of increased visitors to the destination,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO, LVCVA. “This is our game plan as we go forward.”

In 2005, the LVCVA put together a similar proposal to renovate the convention center. Plans on that construction project were halted in 2009 due to the economic recession.

“As we look to tourism to lead the Las Vegas economy out of the recession, we know the convention center component is a very important part of that,” said Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of the LVCVA. “We finally have the financial structure and revenue to go on with this construction program.”

There have been 14 significant renovations done to the Las Vegas Convention Center since its opening in 1959. Each of those renovations began as a way to continue being aggressive and up-to-date with the rest of the tradeshow world. This renovation project is no different.

“We want to remain competitive with what’s happening in all other cities in North America that are presently trying to knock us off the top stool,” said Jicinsky. “Other cities have been aggressive with trying to compete with our venue. If you look at the industry trades, you see articles about Baltimore, Miami, Seattle, Boston and New York City all looking to add space and renovate their convention centers to make themselves more competitive.”

Other cities definitely have a reason to be more competitive. Las Vegas was recently named the number one tradeshow destination in the United States by Trade Show News Network for the 18th year in a row. And the update of the convention center and its surrounding neighborhood will only boost Las Vegas’ numbers even more.

The LVCC will soon undergo a maintenance program for things like carpet and paint, which will be in line with the final renovation project. The bulk of the new proposal will be geared toward creating and updating the district around the convention center.

“The neighborhood has affected the customer experience,” said Jicinsky. “It’s in a transition. There are properties that have stalled or stopped construction. We also have a lot more vacant lots than we previously had. We’ll be looking at how we can affect those.”

The project is laid out into three essential parts: First, the LVCVA will do preliminary research, much like the 2005 proposal. The second part will include analyzing the data and re-writing the scope of the project. This will lead to the LVCVA determining an overall budget.

“The reality is that we want to ask our stakeholders what’s important to them before we answer the budget question,” said Jicinsky. “This will determine what needs to be built, which will determine the budget.”

Once the budget is determined and approved by the LVCVA Board Members, work can begin on creating the convention center district.

“It’s a neighborhood aesthetic district,” said Jicinsky. “It’s about things that are already in place like the street signs, flag poles and light poles. It’s about connecting the convention center to the strip in a very visual way and creating that synergy and sense of arrival. Two or three blocks out, there will definitely be some visual cues that you’re approaching the Las Vegas Convention Center.”

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