Mohegan Sun Exposition Center Celebrates Construction Milestone

October 18, 2017

The Mohegan Sun Exposition Center expansion project is more than one-third complete and on schedule for a June 2018 opening.

Last month, the leaders of Mohegan Sun and the Mohegan Tribe gathered with guests, including Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and AZ Corporation, for a ceremonial topping-off to celebrate the progress of the $80 million project, which began last March.

Over 300 signatures from ironworkers to state and local officials and Mohegan Sun and Tribe management adorned the steel beam.

The resort and casino’s new Exposition Center will span 240,000 net square feet and include a 20,000 sq. ft. ballroom; expansive pre-function space; a 131,000 sq. ft. Expo Center; 15 meeting rooms; 3,600 square feet of outdoor gathering space that features a wrap-around terrace; a 1,260 square-foot executive boardroom with its own outdoor area and 20,000 square feet of additional entertainment tenant space that is expected further diversify the center’s mixed-use program.

The property’s existing Convention Center offers 100,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, including a 38,000 sq. ft. ballroom, more than 30 conference and breakout rooms and 14,000 sq. ft. of pre-function space.

“The new Expo Center complex is an expansion that more than doubles our existing facilities, significantly expanding the size and scope of the events Mohegan Sun will host,” explained Ray Pineault, Mohegan Sun president and general manager.

He continued, “As a direct result of the expanded Convention Center and expo space, we anticipate hundreds of thousands of new guests annually from all over the Northeast and the U.S. who have never visited the region to now visit southeastern Connecticut.”

Combined with its existing convention facilities, the new Exposition Center will allow Mohegan Sun to attract more corporate and association trade shows, expand its current consumer shows such as Terrificon and draw in tech industry shows, golf shows, musical extravaganzas, home-shows, motor sports and hunting and fishing shows, Pineault said.

“Mohegan Sun produces, promotes and executes major events in-house every year, such as the popular Sun Wine & Food Festival, and these events continue to evolve and need additional space as they grow in popularity,” Pineault explained.

He continued, “Major events like Barrett-Jackson’s annual Northeast Car Collector Auction, as well as consumer shows such as Terrificon have also seen significant growth when housed in our immersive entertainment complex and require additional space to accommodate their needs. These events bring in tens of thousands of guests and will now be relocated to Expo Center Complex starting in summer 2018. The expanded space will also allow us to host large trade shows, association gatherings and other similar events while still being able to host large corporate group outings inside the Uncas Ballroom and original convention space.”

Additional Expo Center features include free parking with ample loading docks and drive-in access from four-grade level doors; a 5,361 net sq. ft. kitchen; clerestory windows; a mobile box office; state-of-the-art technology; free Wi-Fi; contiguous exhibit space and interior finishes that incorporate the Mohegan Tribe’s cultural history, as can be seen throughout the whole property.

Once completed, Mohegan Sun will be home to the largest meetings and convention spaces between Boston and New York City and will be ready to host some of the biggest and most popular trade shows and events in the region, Pineault said.

“We envision that our facility will compete with similar venues, large and small, located in New York, Boston, Providence and throughout the U.S., providing a cost-effective option for groups and trade shows with all of the amenities, services and guest accommodations under one roof,” he added.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.