It’s official.The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors voted today to approve a contract for the purchase of the historic 60-year-old Riviera's 26-acre site to tear down in favor of the flashy new Las Vegas Global Business District.
LVCVA agreed to purchase the site for $182.5 million using funds from JP Morgan, which will be converted to bonds within two years. The construction of the new facility is estimated at $2.3 billion, making it the largest economic development initiative the LVCVA has undertaken since the Las Vegas Convention Center was originally built in the late 1950s. LVCVA hopes that the addition will attract an additional 480,000 new attendees attending 20 new trade shows and conventions when complete.
For the Riviera, that means the iconic resort shuts down on May 4. Riviera parent company Paragon Gaming says that the resort is figuring out how to help 1,000 employees there find employment following the shutter.
The casino, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is home to R Steak & Seafood, Banana Leaf Cafe and Wicked Vicky Tavern, along with a food court with Angelina's, Big Burger, Cheese Steaks Etc, India Masala, La Salsa, Quiznos and Wok Express.
Construction will take place in two phases, with the first bringing 750,000 square feet of new exhibit space and 187,500 square feet of supporting meeting space as part of the new 1.8-million-square-foot expansion on the Riviera site.
Phase two focuses on renovating the existing convention center and includes a 100,000-square-foot general session space and another 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation increase the facility from its current total footprint of 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.
The Riviera opened April 20, 1955, the first high-rise hotel on the Strip and a departure from the low-rise, two-story, garden-style motels that ruled the era. The nine-story resort cost $10 million to build at the time. It’s Miami backers wanted a French Côte d’Azur feel to the resort and named floors for French resort cities such as Cannes, Monaco and Nice.