Las Vegas’ convention halls have been dark for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of many blows to the local economy this year.
It’s not exactly the ideal time to open a hotel near the Las Vegas Convention Center, but developer Daniel Grimm decided to give it a shot.
Grimm, founder of DG Development Corp., built a six-story Hampton Inn & Suites and Home2 Suites just south of the convention center. The 250-room hotel at 755 Sierra Vista Drive opened on August 31.
Before the pandemic upended everyday life, Grimm’s project was poised to capitalize on a wave of growth in Southern Nevada’s convention industry.
Attendance at the Las Vegas convention hit an all-time high of more than 6.6 million people last year. The already gigantic convention center has undergone a $980 million expansion and The Boring Company, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, is building an underground transportation system there.
The coronavirus outbreak, however, has caused huge job losses, devastated tourism and put a stop to business travel as people instead meet via Zoom or other video chat sites amid the fears of being infected.
Las Vegas quickly shut down in March due to the outbreak, and there were no attendance at congress April through July, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Grimm built the hotel to attract conventioneers, and the absence of conferences “is going to greatly affect my business,” he said.
“It’s absolutely going to be hectic,” he said.
Grimm said he thinks the market will come back strong and noted his hotel had contactless features that were planned even before the pandemic hit. Hilton, owner of the hotel brands, also spear a cleanliness program he created with the Mayo Clinic and cleaning product makers Lysol and RB.
Still, Grimm could have opened the hotel in June, but he waited so he could gauge demand and see what competitors were doing.
“Eventually we just decided we had to open,” he said.
Grimm purchased the project site and adjacent acreage in 2011 and received Clark County approvals in 2017 for plans to build the hotel and a 300-unit apartment complex next door.
He said his lender for building the rental complex “paused” funding after the pandemic hit and would block funding when there was “more certainty” in the market.