Cost of Riviera demolition increases by $1.84 million

14 October 2015

The demolition of the Riviera Hotel and Casino property and getting the land prepared as outdoor exhibition space is going to be a bigger job than originally thought.

At least $1.84 million bigger.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Tuesday approved the $1.84 million amendment to its contract with its professional services representative, Sacramento, Calif.-based Cordell Corp.

The unanimous vote came after a meeting and recommendation earlier Tuesday by a committee that is overseeing the $2.3 billion project to update the Las Vegas Convention Center campus.

Cordell, originally hired in April to coordinate the overhaul of the Convention Center in two phases, was asked by the board in August also to oversee the demolition of the Riviera, acquired by the authority in February for $182.5 million.

The demolition of the Riviera next year is important because the LVCVA already has a commitment from the Con-Expo/ConAgg trade show to stage some of its March 7-11, 2017, event on the ground currently occupied by the shuttered hotel.

Con-Expo/ConAgg, a construction equipment trade show, is the largest event by exhibit space featuring Convention Center parking lots filled with cranes and massive trucks and loaders.

The Riviera closed in May and has stood dormant since then, occasionally serving as a site for emergency responders training.

When the Riviera was first acquired, there was widespread speculation that the property would be demolished by fall, even though LVCVA officials cautioned that the complexity of the project could require it to take longer.

When initial studies of the building indicated that the demolition could require the removal of suspected asbestos from the site, the timeline was shifted to early 2016 for a demolition. Now, Cordell is projecting the demolition to occur by spring. The additional detail required the LVCVA to negotiate new terms to the deal.

The two-phase program originally envisioned by Cordell officials has become a three-phase effort with one of those phases being the demolition and removal of 13 structures, including a 2,100-room, 23-story tower.

The board approved the hiring of a hazardous materials consultant, Terracon Consultants, to develop a plan to take down the Riviera. It hasn't been determined whether buildings would be imploded or demolished by more conventional means.

Under Cordell's current plans, pre-bid meetings with qualified demolition and construction companies would occur in the winter, the bid process would occur in the first quarter of 2016, hazardous materials would be removed or contained by spring and the demolition would occur shortly after that.

Cordell also will oversee site planning and the design of a new 750,000-square-foot convention hall, a general assembly facility, a World Trade Center building and design and construction of a transportation system.

The board encouraged Cordell to hire Southern Nevada contractors for the scheduled work.

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