The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee has approved the proposal for funding the expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center and has ordered a supervisory panel for overseeing the project.
The $1.4 billion renovation plan has been in discussion for many months has been seen as essential by the convention authority to in order to remain competitive with other cities who are battling for increased convention business and to provide additional space for its customers.
Convention authority, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority purchased the site of the former Riviera hotel located across the current Convention Center for $182 million in 2015 in order gain extra space. This was in addition to plans that called for renovating the existing facilities. Work has already begun on Riviera site and the demolition of the existing structures having already been completed. Further construction on the site was awaiting approval from state authorities.
Under the proposal, the renovation of the convention center would be funded by an increase of 0.5 percent in the county room tax charged and by restricting the local government collection allowance from the room tax revenues to an annual amount of $25 million.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman who is a member of the infrastructure committee felt that the supervisory panel was unnecessary but an alternate plan proposed by her was rejected as it did not get the convention authority board to appoint the relevant panel members. The oversight panel, which comprises seven members appointed by the state’s Governor, can however be overridden by the board of the Convention Authority through a supermajority vote.
Steve Hill, Chairman of the infrastructure committee and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said that the vote to renovate the center was exciting and would help move Las Vegas into the future. MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle who is also a member of the committee supported the proposal saying that the convention center was vital for Las Vegas to continue to maintain its status as a leading destination both nationally and internationally
In a statement, Hornbuckle said,
“We must invest in the future if we are to protect the jobs and revenue that come with this vital industry. We applaud the committee for recognizing the importance of this job-creating industry and urge the legislature to make the convention center a priority, as Las Vegas must continue to offer the best and most modern facilities.”