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by Leo Jakobson | December 17, 2015
Beginning next year, the ARIA Resort & Casino will add more than 200,000 square feet of luxury meeting and event space to its LEED Gold-certified convention center, pushing its overall size past a half-million square feet.

Work on the AAA Five Diamond resort's convention facilities will begin in May 2016, with a scheduled completion date of February 2018. The four-story, $154-million project will include three ballrooms, one on the ground floor with a separate loading dock and another large ballroom on the top floor with a patio capable of hosting receptions for 2,000. Another large ballroom, on the third floor, will feature naturally lit pre-function spaces connecting to the existing convention center. The new convention space's second floor will feature versatile indoor-outdoor breakout rooms.

"What's happening is a lot of the corporate businesses are growing and their attendee numbers are growing," Tony Yousfi, ARIA's vice president of sales, told Incentive sister publication Successful Meetings. "This gives us the capability to grow with them. A good percentage of our groups -- I would say the majority -- are 1,000 or less. This gives us the capability to start hosting meetings of 3,000 to 4,000 people."

ARIA's current convention center space
The patios and terraces are an important part of the new facility, according to Yousfi. "Outdoor space is growing in popularity," said Yousfi. "Once you start getting into 600 to 800 people, you get very limited in some of the venues you can use at Aria," he noted. "Whether you're in a nightclub or a ballroom, there's not a lot of places you can have a 2,000-person sit-down dinner in a glass-enclosed space with an outdoor patio, facing the brand new [20,000-seat] Las Vegas Arena that's being built. Its something that will be a little unique."

Yousfi added that the luxurious, technologically advanced, and flexible meeting facilities will "wow" attendees.

The fourth-floor ballroom and patio will also offer "stunning" views of The Park, MGM Resorts' planned outdoor entertainment zone. Both the arena and The Park will open in April. A newly announced, 5,000-seat theater at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, also overlooking the park, will open at the end of 2016.