Committee votes to demolish Riviera

29 July 2015

A Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority subcommittee is recommending the Riviera be torn down sooner rather than later.

The new Las Vegas Convention Center District committee, as it is now known, voted Tuesday to recommend that the Riviera property be demolished on its planned timetable instead of waiting for the governor's new Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee to make its recommendations on local tourism projects a year from now.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority acquired the Riviera in February for $182.5 million and intends for the land on which it stands to be a part of the $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District convention center overhaul.

The Convention and Visitors Authority board is expected to consider the recommendation at its Aug. 11 meeting.

There's still no date for the demolition of the Riviera, nor a decision on whether to implode it or tear it down in a more conventional way. Authority officials estimate demolition will cost $42 million, but won't have a final price until the project goes to a competitive bid.

The convention center committee met for the second time Tuesday and immediately voted to take the new name after it originally had been established as the Las Vegas Global Business District committee. Members opted for the new name to take advantage of the branding the Las Vegas Convention Center has with established trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show, the National Association of Broadcasters and ConExpo-Con/Ag.

Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of operations for the authority, said the committee considered the pros and cons of knocking the Riviera down in its planned timeline or to wait to hear the recommendations of the 11-member committee assembled by the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Convention Center committee members determined that demolishing the building quickly would enable large shows that use incremental outdoor space in temporary tent facilities to use the Riviera site. Committee members also considered the possibility of the cost of demolishing the building to go up if they waited too long. The Convention and Visitors Authority has the finances in place to pay for the demolition, but the governor's committee could possibly recommend alternative finances to pay for the demotion.

The committee also did not want the authority to be criticized for encouraging blight in the neighborhood by leaving the building standing longer than necessary.

Jicinsky reconfirmed that the demolition of the dormant 23-story, 2,100-room Strip hotel probably wouldn't occur until early next year after the authority initially projected an August date with the wrecking ball.

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