Big news for Las Vegas: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority 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.
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.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the closure of the 60-year-old Riviera will take place on May 4, just days after the property reaches its 60th anniversary. The hotel-casino is owned by Starwood Capital Group and is managed by Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming. Paragon will be responsible for closing the property and turning it over to the LVCVA for demolition. Paragon CEO Scott Menke said that the company is working with various Nevada agencies to assist in the transition.
In a statement, LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said that the Global Business District is "the single most important economic development project in the state." The acquisition, she continued, gives the LVCVA "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."
The $2.3 billion expansion project is the largest economic development initiative the LVCVA has undertaken since the Las Vegas Convention Center was originally built in the late 1950s.
The Riviera site is a key component of the LVCVA's land acquisition strategy, providing an entrance to the Global Business District on the Strip. 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-square-foot 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 square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet. Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take five to eight years to complete.
For more information on the Las Vegas Global Business District, visit GlobalBusinessDistrict.com.