A special board meeting of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which operates the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), will vote on Feb. 20 on a proposed agreement to purchase and close a long-time Las Vegas Strip casino.
Its Board of Directors will determine whether to purchase the Riviera Hotel & Casino, located directly across the street from the LVCC, for an estimated sum of $182,500,000 and require it to cease business operations. Also to be decided is an authorization for no more than $8,500,000 for related real estate purchases.
Playing it close to the vest, the board remains quiet about the details of the purchase agreement with Riviera Holdings Corporation, current owner of the casino-hotel.
“The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors will be presented with a tentative agreement with Riviera Holdings Corporation to purchase the Riviera Hotel & Casino as part of the LVCVA’s land acquisition strategy to develop the Las Vegas Global Business District,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO, LVCVA. “The item will be up for discussion and possible action during a special meeting on February 20. Until the Board determines what action to take on the item, it is premature for LVCVA staff to discuss.”
Acquisition of the 60-year-old casino is a strategic move for its future plans to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center, according to the organization. The $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District will be the LVCVA’s largest economic development initiative since the facility originally opened in the late 1950s.
In the tentative purchase agreement, the expansion is cited as “necessary in order to accommodate the expanding convention/tradeshow business in the Las Vegas destination” and that it was “determined that expansion in the northwest direction is the most feasible. The property at 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South consists of 26.36 acres prime real estate which is immediately northwest of the LVCVA’s gold parking lot and will provide sufficient real property to construct the LVCC expansion.”
To be completed in two phases, the first phase of the expansion is to include 750,000 square feet of new exhibit space and 187,500 square feet of supporting meeting space, to total 1.8 million square feet. Phase two will focus on renovating the existing convention center including a 100,000 square-foot general session space and another 100,000 square feet in meeting space.
Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation will expand the facility from 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.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Riviera Hotel & Casino first opened in April 1955. The casino itself boasts 140,000 square feet of convention space. However, the property filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2010.
In preparation for the expansion project, LVCVA also acquired other nearby properties in October 2013. Relocating residents from apartment buildings adjacent to the Convention Center helped to add approximately 5.8 acres to the convention center’s campus.