Plans are moving ahead with the proposed $2.5 billion Las Vegas Global Business District as more land is readied for clearing and local officials partner with Pres. Barack Obama’s administration to lure more international visitation.
To remain the top-ranked destination for tradeshows in the United States as determined by the Trade Show News Network, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) recently approved $150 million in funding to obtain preliminary proposals for the potential $2.5 billion expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the creation of the proposed Las Vegas Global Business District.
“Us keeping number one – that’s what it really is all about,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO, LVCVA. “It’s been a tough recession, but the tradeshow business is growing.”
During its June 11 board meeting, more than $1 million was approved to demolish buildings, clear properties and provide abatement oversight of three parcels by the LVCVA’s Board of Directors during its monthly meeting. Las Vegas-based contractor Martin-Harris Construction was awarded $975,839 to demolish and clear buildings at 552, 560 and 594 Sierra Vista Dr. The project will be done over a 90-day period, and will involve leveling and compacting the soil so the soon-to-be-vacant lots can be used for move-in and move-out during tradeshows.
The properties are located between Paradise Rd. and Swenson St. near the convention
center. Another $150,000 was awarded to Terracon Consultants Inc. of Las Vegas to provide third-party abatement oversight services. Any residual unexpended balances from the project will be returned to the LVCVA and placed in a capital fund.
The parcels are being cleared as part of the proposed Las Vegas Global Business District, initial plans for which include more exhibit space, a new entrance along Joe E. Brown Dr., improved technology, more amenities and a new World Trade Center building to house LVCC administrative offices and draw more international exhibitors. Construction on the proposed World Trade Center building could begin within two years, and the intent is for it to do more than house administrative offices.
“Blue-chip brands will come,” said Ralenkotter. “It will be a global validation of the Las Vegas Convention Center.”
About 17 percent of tradeshow exhibitors and attendees at Las Vegas venues hail from international destinations, and the LVCVA wants to boost that rate to 30 percent within 10 years. The visitors authority conducts outreach activities to draw in more international business, which coincides with similar goals cited by the Obama Administration. Because their goals are similar, federal officials chose the LVCVA as its first partner to promote trade agreements and international visitation nationally as well as in Las Vegas.
Some 66 million international visitors last year generated a record $168 billion in economic activity, which created about 1.2 million jobs across the United States, according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. And the Obama administration wants to boost international visitation to 100 million by 2020. Locally, about 6 million international visitors drove some $7.6 billion in economic activity in the Las Vegas area, which supported more than 66,000 jobs during 2012.
“Travel, tourism and exports create American jobs, and we continue to work to promote more growth,” said Kenneth E. Hyatt, acting deputy under secretary for international trade, U.S. Dept. of Commerce. “Las Vegas is a critical partner, and I look forward to continuing the partnership.”
Planning to boost Las Vegas’ international visitors’ rate from 17 percent to 30 percent within 10 years through the new agreement as well as development of the proposed global business district, the LVCVA and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce officials will work together to promote travel and tourism and create marketing jobs. Travel and tourism is America’s top service export and generates an estimated economic impact of $2 trillion while supporting one in eight jobs, according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.