Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority Buys Rivera Hotel to Expand Footprint to 5.7 Million Square Feet

February 21, 2015

The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority’s Board of Directors voted to approve a contract for the purchase of the historic Riviera Hotel & Casino’s 26-acre site as the cornerstone for its planned Las Vegas Global Business District. 

The District will expand the Las Vegas Convention Center’s footprint from 3.2 million square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet and give it a Strip-front location.

“The Las Vegas Global Business District is the single most important economic development project in the state,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the LVCVA.

He added, “This strategic acquisition of land gives us the much-needed space for expansion while also providing a highly visible presence on one of the most famous streets in the world – the Las Vegas Strip – and is essential in helping us to reach our goal of 45 million visitors.”

Under the agreement, the LVCVA will purchase the site for a total of $182.5 million. Funds for the acquisition will be drawn from the LVCVA’s bank credit facility with JPMorgan. The LVCVA will issue long-term bonds to retire the bank credit within the next two years. Terms of these bonds will follow the standard public bonding process.

The $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District is the largest economic development initiative the LVCVA has undertaken since the Las Vegas Convention Center was originally built in the late 1950s. 

The expansion project is expected to lead to an additional 480,000 new attendees as current conventions grow and through attracting an estimated 20 new trade shows and conventions. 

The Riviera site is a key component of the LVCVA’s land acquisition strategy. Envisioned to be completed in two phases, the first phase focuses on the Riviera site and includes 750,000 square feet of new exhibit space and 187,500 square feet of supporting meeting space as part of the new 1.8 million sq. ft. expansion.

Phase two focuses on renovating the existing convention center and includes a 100,000-square-foot general session space and another 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation increase the facility from its current total footprint of 3.2 million sq. ft. to nearly 5.7 million sq. ft..  Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take five to eight years to complete. 

The Global Business District also includes plans for a centralized transportation hub that would be the centerpiece to a new transportation plan for the entire city.

The district will provide a distinct look and feel to the area and provide the opportunity for economic development related to the industry, including the development of a global business center that utilizes the facility’s World Trade Center designation to attract corporations wanting to interact with the tens of thousands of businesses who visit the convention center each year.

Las Vegas has been ranked the top trade show destination for 20 consecutive years by TSNN and hosts 53 of the nation’s 250 top trade shows. The largest include the International CES, MAGIC Market Week, SEMA and NAB Show.

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