Riviera Casino is to be demolished after the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) takes over in about six months. The LVCVA’s board approved spending $182.5 million to buy the 26-acre property and up to $8.5 million for related costs for an expanded convention center. This is part of a $2.3 billion project that is called the Las Vegas Global Business District. The Global Business District project also includes a transportation element and business space.
Negotiations for the sale of the Riviera begin in October 2014. The finances for the acquisition of the Riviera will come from LVCVA’s line of credit with JP Morgan. That amount is then expected to be retired within two years after the agency issues long-term bonds.
Phase two will focus on the existing convention center and this will include 100,000 square feet of meeting space and another 100,000-square-foot general session space. The renovation and expansion will increase the facility from its current 3.2 million square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet. The project is expected to take between five and eight years to complete once construction starts.
This expansion project that LVCVA has undertaken is expected to attract an estimated 20 new trade shows and conventions and an additional new attendee total of 480,000 people, in order to keep up with the growth rate of current conventions. Currently the Las Vegas Convention Center supports 14,000 local jobs, sustain $530 million in wages, and generate an annual economic impact of $1.7 billion by the approximately 1.2 million visitors and the conventions they attend.
When the Las Vegas Global Business District project is complete, the increase in economic activity could support up to 6,000 permanent jobs. This, however, means nearly 1000 loyal employees of the Riviera Casino, that is to be demolished, will be losing their jobs The Riviera Casino owners and management are working with resort partners and the unions in identifying alternative employment options.
For now, it is business as usual at the Riviera in accordance with the Nevada gaming laws. The Nevada’s Gaming Control Board can conduct a final audit to make sure the casino is current on any taxes and fees it might owe. If it is, the Riviera will simply surrender its gaming license. The Riviera has to make sure they can make payouts regarding any winnings from progressive slot machine jackpots prior to it closing, by showing they have enough money on hand.
The Riviera, now-2,075-rooms, first opened in 1955 and over the years has had multiple bouts with bankruptcy and its share of face lifts and revivals. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said, “For the better part of 60 years, this historic property has created memories for millions of guests and will always have a place in the history of this great city.” He went on to state that the site where the Riviera is will continue to be a big part in attracting visitors to Nevada. The Riviera Casino will be among an elite group of iconic landmarks that have been demolished to make way for the ever-expanding future of Las Vegas.
By Michele Enli
Photo by Las Vegas Blog – License