Mandalay Bay Convention Center reopened Tuesday August 17, 2015 after 350,000 square feet was added to the already large space. The addition makes the convention center 2 million square feet, with an overall property worth of $70 million. Before the full opening, Mandalay Bay Convention Center started hosting the Men’s Apparel Guild in California (Magic) fashion show. The show began Monday August 16, 2015 and is the first to occupy the new space.

Chuck Bowling, CEO and president of Mandalay Bay stated, “This is an important day, not only to Mandalay Bay and MGM Resorts, but to all of Las Vegas.”

Las Vegas has been in a battle with other Nevada cities to host trade show and convention shows. The shows are lucrative to the city as they fill hotel rooms during the slow midweek periods, which help generate revenue in the food and beverage industry as well as the hotel rooms.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority members have worked to maintain the lead as the best convention and trade show city host in the US. Chuck Bowling is a board member of the authority and feels Mandalay Bay’s recent expansion will help to maintain the convention center quality of Las Vegas and continue to draw in the shows.

The convention center is 2 million square feet with 1.1 million square feet for a large exhibit space. It moves the facility to the fifth ranking in terms of square footage from the seventh position. In exhibit space size it was 11th, but has not become fifth in all of North America.

Mandalay Bay may have gained an edge in the US listings; however, it is still ranking third in Las Vegas. It is behind the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Sands Expo and Convention Center. All of these Las Vegas convention centers are behind McCormick Place in Chicago and the leader in Orlando, which is the Orange County Convention Center.

Bowling believes Las Vegas was finally getting out of the recession, when they started talking to trade show organizers about the expansion of their convention center. By April 2014, MGM made an announcement regarding the expansion and started building the space in October.

The expansion was placed on the Bayside section at the south end and built out east towards Las Vegas Boulevard. There is also more parking with 900 parking spaces that was built beneath the center to house the increase in attendants to the various shows.

Mandalay Bay feels they can now attract big shows that they could not handle before. They are going to secure new shows, while keeping existing shows.

Bowling also stated, “We believe this investment will increase visitation to Las Vegas, driving incremental business to MGM Resorts‘ portfolio and the city overall.”

The second phase of the convention center has not been completed. The main hall was reopened to start hosting shows; however, the second phase is to repurpose the meeting rooms. The project will start in January 2016. The current expansion has increased the ballroom to 70,000 square feet, which can break into five areas for flexibility and corporate groups. The company is working on increasing the Wi-Fi bandwidth.

The new space also has an 8 acre rooftop complete with solar photovoltaic panels that will be in use by fall. It is being combined to the 20 acre section that has been in place since the original build. The facility can produce 3.4 million kilowatts per year, which is enough to power 1,300 homes. In a world comparison, Mandalay Bay has the largest solar panel array on a convention center in the world.