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Farewell, Old Friend!

One last hooray for a Las Vegas icon


rivieraThis month is bitter-sweet for fans of old Vegas. First, the sweet: The Riviera Hotel & Casino is celebrating its historic Diamond Jubilee Anniversary—60 years on the famed Las Vegas Strip. And everyone’s invited to attend to try to win a share of the more than $500,000 in cash prizes given away in their Classic Cash Giveaway.

But this short-lived celebration will be the last hooray for the historic property, which is closing its doors for good on May 4, leaving precious little time to get in those last looks and relive some personal moments of glory from a bygone era.

But one thing about Vegas—it never stops looking to the future. Enter the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) which purchased the 26-acre site as the cornerstone for its planned Las Vegas Global Business District.

“Today marks an exciting new milestone in Las Vegas’ long history of reinvention and evolution and ensures Las Vegas’ meeting and convention industry remains the envy of the world for decades to come,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the LVCVA. “The Las Vegas Global Business District is the single most important economic development project in the state, and it will generate thousands of good-paying jobs and help lay a strong economic foundation for the benefit of the entire community. This strategic acquisition of land gives us the much-needed space for expansion while also providing a highly visible presence on one of the most famous streets in the world—the Las Vegas Strip—and is essential in helping us to reach our goal of 45 million visitors.”

The $2.3 billion project is the largest economic development initiative the LVCVA has undertaken since the Las Vegas Convention Center was originally built in the late 1950s. The expansion project is expected to lead to an additional 480,000 new attendees as current conventions grow and through attracting an estimated 20 new tradeshows and conventions.

The Riviera site is a key component of the LVCVA’s land acquisition strategy, providing an iconic entrance to the Global Business District on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Envisioned to be completed in two phases, the first phase focuses on the Riviera site and includes 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. 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. Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take five to eight years to complete.

“Las Vegas has proven time and again, its ability to reinvent itself as the economic engine for Southern Nevada,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “For the better part of 60 years, this historic property has created memories for millions of guests and will always have a place in the history of this great city. As the storied resort makes way for the Global Business District, this site will continue to play an integral role in the attraction of visitors to Nevada.”

In honor of the Riviera’s departure from the Vegas skyline, Casino Player has put together a retrospective, offering those who might not be able to make it once last time a brief glimpse back to the days when the name Riviera was synonymous with Vegas.

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