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Las Vegas Convention Center to get facelift

The Las Vegas Convention Center, a top site nationwide for major trade shows, will launch a $737 million enhancement program that should be finished by the end of 2010. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's board last week unanimously approved the plan, which will include new meeting rooms, a new lobby connecting the south, north and central halls, an overall renovation and upgrade, and the construction of a 100,000-square-foot general session space. Other projects include building an enclosed connector between the convention center and the Las Vegas monorail station. The work will be financed by new room taxes and increased leasing rates.

Las Vegas DMCs interviewed by Special Events Magazine favor the plan. "Las Vegas is a key part of our company, and we support innovations and upgrades that keep our facilities ahead of the competition," notes Don McPhail, vice president and general manager of USA Hosts Destination Services, which is headquartered in Las Vegas. The facility today isn't showing its age so much as "heavy usage," says Scott Washburn, executive vice president of Baskow & Associates, also in Las Vegas.

Neither expects increased taxes to turn event organizers away from the city. "Las Vegas is such a popular destination, with so many more benefits over other convention cities, that a few extra tax dollars will not deter organizers," Washburn says.

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