The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s (LVCVA) planned Global Business District calls for more land as well as something for which the authority has no direct control – improved domestic transportation.
“We’re Switzerland in this; we’re not the ones that fund transportation,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO, LVCVA.
Locally, the job of funding transportation is given to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, with statewide funding handled by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Both agencies are experiencing funding deficits due to an economic slowdown. LVCVA, along with its contractor The Skancke Company, monitors how transportation affects tourism in Southern Nevada and how it could potentially affect its Global Business District.
“The Global Business District will help Las Vegas stand out. Las Vegas Convention Center is not unique enough in today’s market as big as it is,” said Chuck Bowling, board secretary, LVCVA. The authority operates the convention center and promotes all of Southern Nevada.
LVCVA’s long-term plan to create an international business district and boost tourism through renovations and expansions include creating a centralized transportation hub to improve connectivity in Las Vegas’ resort corridor, a geographical area with the city’s hotels and resorts at its center. By 2030, surface streets in the resorts corridor will fail to meet traffic demand due to their design and Interstate-15 (I-15) handling an estimated 33,000 trucks daily.
California-implemented roadway construction will benefit the millions of visitors driving to Las Vegas from Southern California. Improvements totaling $3 billion to California’s Devore Interchange, which is known for having traffic backed up as far as five miles, will aid in boosting tourism to Las Vegas; five new interchanges will be completed between 2013 and 2015. A new joint weight agricultural inspection station near the California/Nevada border and Nevada planned roadway construction will also lessen traffic, but Las Vegas not having as many transportation options as other major convention cities remains a sticking point.
“Las Vegas must have multi-modal choices for the expansion the Las Vegas Convention Center is headed for,” said Tom Skancke, president and CEO, The Skancke Company. “Other cultures provide trains. When customers come to Las Vegas, that’s the first thing they look for.”
For Las Vegas to stay competitive, Skancke also underlined the importance of Las Vegas having a train to connect the airport to the convention center and another beltway to lessen traffic on the Strip.
Something LVCVA does have direct control over is securing land for its Global Business District. At the Oct. 8 LVCVA board of directors’ meeting, board members authorized $21 million to acquire two apartment complexes near the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall and $800,000 for expenses related to tenant relocation and hiring a management company. This marks LVCVA’s second attempt to acquire land near LVCC; its first negotiations failed.
“We have the opportunity to be prepared for the Global Business District,” said Luke Puschnig, legal counsel, LVCVA. “It is critical to what we need to do in the future.”
For the short-term, the land on 500 and 650 Sierra Vista Dr. will be used for freight and add 5.31 acres to LVCC’s Silver parking lots after the apartment complexes are demolished. As part of the sale, LVCVA expects to collect $400,000 in rental income until all leasehold interests are terminated by December 2014.