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Contract signed, price set, next stop: LVCC construction

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The parking lot at the corner of Convention Center and Paradise doesn't look like much now.

However, in 2021, it should be the home of a 1.4 million square foot expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This week, the convention authority board and the builder nailed down a contract and a maximum price: $935 million, paid for by a boost in the room tax.

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says a starting date for construction should be released soon.

At the Convention Center today, it's the glass industry showing off. Eight thousand conventioneers are here for "Glass Build America".

“We've been mostly in the North Hall but it's nice to know that there might be some new halls for us to go into,” says Molly Grenn, the Events Director for Glass Build America. “They’ve been limited in their meeting space and I understand the new space is going to have a lot more meeting space, which I know has been a point of discussion.”

This convention takes place in one of the oldest parts of our convention complex. Some of the building dates back to 1959.

Glass Build America loves it here, but admits, at newer convention halls they use, “the door locks are more sophisticated, the carpet has been replaced, they've given that all kind of a facelift,” says Grenn.

Here, we're about to get the mother-of-all-makeovers.

On the table is a two-part transition: first the expansion, to be done in 2021, and then the renovation of the existing facility, to be done in 2023. Together, the authority says they'll pump more than $800 million into Las Vegas and attract 600 thousand more visitors.

“This expansion is so extremely important for the viability and continued boom of Las Vegas,” says Clark County Commissioner and Convention and Visitors Authority Board Chairman Lawrence Weekly.

“You know, we have to be competitive with the biggest cities around this country that are in the convention and visitors competition,” says Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who also sits on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board.

Case in point: Orlando, arguably our biggest and most potent competitor, has a $500 million dollar upgrade on the table for its Orange County Convention Center. Depending on the ranking, Las Vegas and Orlando routinely swap spots for the top destination in the convention and/or trade show industry. The two cities are tough competitors with respect for what the other brings to the table.

However, Las Vegas is in it to win it, says LVCVA Board Chair Weekly.

“After you’ve watched the Disney World parade, and have taken the kids to ‘It’s a Small World,’ taken your picture with Mickey and Minnie, what else is there to do there,” Weekly asks.

Back at the Las Vegas Convention Center, glass guy Phil Port says his convention experience here has been good.

“Show's been great. It's a good show. It's always a good show, the glass show here. And of course, visiting Vegas. We always love to come to Vegas,” Port told me.

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