Las Vegas Goes Full Speed Ahead on Future-Defining Investments for Meetings and Events

June 5, 2019

Development is in the express lane all over Las Vegas. Take for example the new $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat Las Vegas Stadium, which broke ground in November 2017, on course for delivery by July 2020.

With the influx of new developments comes plans for easier transportation options. The billion-dollar Project Neon to help reconstruct Las Vegas’ hazardous “spaghetti bowl” interchange has helped highway circulation, for example. It’s giddy stuff for planners bringing their meetings and events to Las Vegas.

As Las Vegas propels forward with the promise of new spaces and transportation solutions, it continues to be a key destination for large-scale meetings and events.

Major Developments Along The Las Vegas Monorail

SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino kicked off a $100 million, multi-year revitalization in October 2018 following its acquirement by owner of Grand Sierra Resort & Casino Alex Meruelo in 2018. The upgrade reportedly covers all 1,616 rooms in the resort’s three towers, casino, outdoor pool and entertainment venues. “Grand Sahara” is the working name for the new resort.

From the Westgate Las Vegas station, the Monorail passes right by the Las Vegas Convention Center District expansion. On target for CES 2021, the steel is fast rising on Phase Two, which adds 1.4 million square feet to the current facility, including 600,000 square feet of new leasable exhibit space. Phase Three, renovating the existing 3.2 million-square-foot facility, is on track for completion in 2023. The convention center also has a dedicated station.

LVCC expansion
Las Vegas Convention Center Expansion, Credit: Jeff Heilman

New owners Golden Entertainment are rebranding the former Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower as The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod as the property undergoes a sweeping $140 million property-wide refresh.

Towering high across the street, the $4 billion, 3,400-room Resorts World Las Vegas is aiming for 2020.

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Wynn Resorts’ new convention center is taking shape on the edge of the Wynn Golf Club, on track to open in March 2020. Unique features of the high-tech, eco-friendly 300,000-square-foot complex include a 20,000-square-foot outdoor events pavilion, 83,000-square-foot pillarless ballroom, and programmable LED wall. The venue seamlessly complements 275,000 square feet of existing convention space across Wynn and Encore.

Breaking ground behind the Venetian in January 2019 for an anticipated calendar 2021 debut, the MSG Sphere is a visionary new multi-purpose arena. Co-developed by the Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the 17,500-seat spherical venue will feature massive programmable LED screens inside and out, pioneering audio technology, and skybridge connection to The Venetian-Palazzo complex.

MSG Sphere at The Venetian
MSG Sphere at The Venetian | Credit: The Madison Square Garden Company

Scheduled for March 2020, the $375 million new conference center CAESARS FORUM will create 550,000 square feet of dynamic space for 10,000 delegates.

Unique features include:

  • the world’s two largest pillarless ballrooms, at 110,000 square feet each;
  • adjacent 100,000-square-foot outdoor events plaza;
  • and seamless connection to Caesars’ open-air LINQ Promenade.

New LINQ attractions include the 10-person FLY LINQ Zipline.

This spring sees the opening of 300-seat Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club, followed in 2020 by the $100 million Kind Heaven augmented reality experience.

Additional Caesars’ investments include a number of 20th anniversary enhancements for Paris Las Vegas. These include the new $1.7 million Eiffel Tower Light Show; an $87 million renovation of nearly 1,600 rooms and suites; and new spa.

Scheduled to start in July 2019 for completion this fall, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace gets its first major update since opening in 2003. Highlights include a new state-of-the-art sound system, high-definition LED video wall and versatile automated seating system.   

Unveiled in December 2018, the $130 million, 250,000-square-foot expansion of the MGM Grand Conference Center creates 850,000 square feet of seamlessly connected space on three levels. MGM’s pioneering Stay Well Meetings experience now encompasses the entire second floor. Other highlights include new collaborative work spaces, strategically placed power and data ports, and multi-functional video walls. Versatile group venues include the 10,000-square-foot, open-air Marquee Courtyard and 47,000-square-foot Chairman’s Ballroom.

Dynamic Developments Beyond The Strip

Aiming for late 2020, construction is underway on Circa Las Vegas, downtown’s first new-build project since 1975.

The 777-room integrated gaming resort from Derek and Greg Stevens, developer-owners of the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Casino, will include a 44-story tower and “the largest sports book in Las Vegas history.”  

A new 495-room tower will double the key count at Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino to 1,124 in mid 2020.  

In January 2019, the City of Las Vegas and International Market Centers (IMC) broke ground on a new $76 milllion, 315,000-square-foot expo and convention center, slated for 2020.

The phased $40 million remodeling of all 2,049 rooms and 84 suites at South Point Hotel and Casino is slated for completion by September 2019.

[Related Content: Westgate Las Vegas Resort Casino Looks To The Future]

In April 2019, Palms Casino Resort celebrated completion of its unprecedented $690 million reimagination and repositioning with the celebrity-studded launch of KAOS, the resort’s 73,000-square-foot dayclub and 29,000- square-foot nightclub experience.

Transportation Solutions Planned in Las Vegas
McCarran International Airport had yet another record year in 2018 with 49.7 million passengers. Continuing route and gate growth has rekindled discussions of building a second airport near the California border.

Plans for alleviating traffic include a new express bus service between McCarran and Downtown along the heavily-used Maryland Parkway.

Elon Musk’s proposed underground high-speed people-mover for the convention center complex is advancing through approval stages as well.

Extending this visionary system destination-wide is on the table, with high-speed Virgin Trains USA service connecting Vegas with Los Angeles.

Solving Strip congestion is more elusive. Proposals to extend the Las Vegas Monorail keep inching forward. Recent progress includes an approved new station for the MSG Sphere and planned extension from MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay. Currently in the permitting phase, the latter would bring fans within a 10-minute walk of Las Vegas Stadium.

With these new developments and enhancements to Las Vegas’ key venues and attractions coupled with the city’s ambitious transporation solutions, one thing is clear: Las Vegas’ dominance as a leading events destination is here to stay.

Read more: The Las Vegas meetings and events landscape is always evolving. Stay up to date with what's new on our Las Vegas destination page!

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About the author
Jeff Heilman | Senior Contributor

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based independent journalist Jeff Heilman has been a Meetings Today contributor since 2004, including writing our annual Texas and Las Vegas supplements since inception. Jeff is also an accomplished ghostwriter specializing in legal, business and Diversity & Inclusion content.