Caesars Entertainment has booked $70 million in business for its new Caesars Forum conference center, even before any work on the project is underway.
“That’s just getting started, even before we put a shovel in the ground,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Frissora said today at a groundbreaking ceremony. “Once customers get to see ... what we’re building ... we expect it to get better.”
The $375 million conference center will include 550,000-square-feet of meeting space that can be divided into numerous configurations and a 100,000-square-foot outdoor events space. The facility, which features two massive, 110,000-square-foot ballrooms and can accommodate up to 10,000 people, is slated to open in April 2020.
Caesars Forum will be connected to Harrah’s and the Linq and within walking distance of 20,000 hotel rooms at Caesars properties on the Las Vegas Strip. It will complement the other offerings at the nearby resorts, Frissora said.
“We will never lose sight of the of the core business that has been driving our success,” Frissora said. “The meetings and conference market is, and will continue to be, the business that also nurtures our gaming, hospitality and entertainment offerings.”
The project will create 1,000 construction jobs and 450 permanent jobs once it’s complete, said Michael Massari, chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment. “It will employee a lot of people and provide for a lot of families,” he said.
The conference center will open the same year a major expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center is expected to be finished.
Massari said there is plenty of business to go around.
“More meetings in this city is good for everybody,” he said. “The rising tide really does lift all boats in this regard ... We think it’s great that all these facilities are opening and we want to be a part of it.”
MGM Resorts International earlier this year finished the expansion of the convention space at Aria. The $170 million investment doubled the property's convention space to 500,000 square feet.
Wynn Resorts and the planned Drew casino-resort also intend to open new convention spaces.
Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani after the groundbreaking ceremony said the city always has to "stay on top" of the meetings and convention business as there is strong competition from Chicago and Orlando.
More than 6.6 million people attended a convention in Las Vegas last year, according to the agency responsible for promoting the destination. While overall visitation decreased compared to 2016, convention attendance was up more than 5 percent.