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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2010, 11:18 PM
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Is there anything special about Victorville, CA that will create demand for people to go to this place? Will it be a connection to get to Los Angeles?
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  #22  
Old Posted May 17, 2010, 6:34 AM
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  #23  
Old Posted May 20, 2010, 4:12 AM
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Tropicana ‘changing everything’ in favor of new South Beach vibe
As part of $165 million facelift, casino losing parts of its history
By Amanda Finnegan (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

If the halls of the Tropicana could tell their stories, they’d have a rich history to share as one of the few Las Vegas hotels still standing more than 50 years after its opening.

They’d tell tales of Tropicana's mobster owners and performers such as Sammy Davis Jr. But history doesn’t sell rooms in a city that more often implodes its landmarks to make room for something bigger and better.

The Tropicana’s new management team is scrubbing much of the property’s history — such as the Tiffany-style, stained glass ceiling above the casino floor — to make room for a trendy South Beach theme as part of a $165 million facelift. The stained glass has been a fixture at the vintage Strip property since the late 1970s, but like the Folies Bergere showgirls and headliners such as Wayne Newton, it isn’t hip enough to hang with new Vegas. Time to bring in Tropicana version 2.0.

The hotel, which hasn’t been redone since 1985, will get a head-to-toe makeover, with everything from the rooms, pool, casino floor and restaurants getting some sort of update.

The property emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009 as a stand-alone company under the leadership of former MGM Mirage executive Alex Yemenidjian. Renovations were announced soon after, and a new executive team was brought in to help revive the property, including former Planet Hollywood President Tom McCartney as the resort’s new president.

When Tropicana’s new management team took over last summer, they knew they wanted to keep the tropical décor but wanted more focus, Arik Knowles, vice president of hotel operations, said.

“With the Tropicana in the past, there were a lot of different elements of tropical introduced into the property over the years.” Knowles said. “It was bit of a mishmash.”

Though the first phase of the renovation won’t be done until the end of the year, hints of the changes are evident as soon you walk in the front entrance. Bright white marble tiles line the floor and run alongside the stained glass ceiling in the new casino pit.

The changes are most obvious in the recently revamped Paradise Tower rooms and suites.

The rooms have been updated to match the South Beach-feel the property is going for with rattan and bamboo furniture, plantation shutters and an orange-and-tan color palate. They also feature new mattresses and name-brand 42-inch plasma TVs, which the property is advertising on its new signage.

The rooms aren’t ultra-luxurious, but they aren’t trying to compete with Las Vegas’ luxury properties. Tropicana is branding its new rooms as “best in class” — a step above a property such as the Excalibur and more on par with Luxor or Treasure Island, Knowles said.

“Ultimately our goal is to become a (AAA) Four Diamond hotel,” Knowles said.

Tropicana’s themed suites, such as its Moroccan and Japanese suites, have also been remodeled to reflect the rest of the Paradise Tower’s updated rooms. But some of old Vegas remains: the Jacuzzis in the living rooms of many of the suites are staying put.

The Paradise Tower was chosen to lead the room renovations because of its proximity to the casino floor, Knowles said. The Island Tower will follow in fall 2010.

Most of the Garden Rooms, which date back to Tropicana’s 1957 opening, will be demolished, but the remaining rooms will also open in the fall.

The restaurants have also received a facelift. Tropicana remodeled and rebranded its coffee and sandwich shop, updated its Legends Steakhouse and added an Italian restaurant called Bacio.

The property just finished resurfacing and refurnishing its four-acre pool deck and recently announced the coming of Nikki Beach, which operates pool parties in places such as Miami and St. Tropez.

Tropicana brought in comedian Paul Rodriguez for stint through June, and Knowles said more entertainment options will be announced later this year.

Knowles said the second round of renovations will include a sports book with an entrance from Las Vegas Boulevard, a nightclub, spa, more restaurants and the completion of upgrades on the casino floor.

Management’s next task is getting the word out about the new Tropicana, a brand has been plagued with service and room cleanliness issues during recent years. That’s why Tropicana has launched a new ad campaign to get across exactly what executives want customers to know — “Tropicana: We’re changing everything.”
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2010, 10:36 AM
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Here is an article from today, about the future I-11 between Vegas and Phoenix.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...-become-focus/

Sounds like a great plan... Wonder if it will ever actually happen.
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  #25  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2010, 4:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun
Victorville? Crowd at hearing perplexed by train’s proposed route
By Richard N. Velotta (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 | 11:20 p.m.

For most of the more than 60 people attending, Wednesday night’s public hearing on the supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed DesertXpress high-speed rail system was an exercise in frustration.

People looking for answers left with more questions.

Most of them still can’t understand why it would be feasible to build the $4 billion, 200-mile high-speed link between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif.

But as representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration explained from the beginning, Wednesday’s meeting wasn’t about answering questions — it was about gathering comments on a series of proposed changes along the length of the route.

FRA administrators spent about an hour taking comments on the project, which got a boost earlier in the day from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who announced that DesertXpress Enterprises has been invited to apply for Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan guarantees.

Government officials recorded a variety of comments and will do it again Thursday in Barstow, Calif., where the municipal government is pressing for DesertXpress to make a stop there. One of the revised route proposals would bring the train through the center of town instead of circling around it to the west and north.

Several Las Vegas comments suggested that DesertXpress, designed as a high-speed system with no additional stops between Victorville and Las Vegas, should make stops before pulling into Las Vegas.

Elizabeth Warren of Goodsprings suggested that a station be built to serve residents of Goodsprings and Sandy Valley, who could then use the train as a commuter line into Las Vegas. Mark Allen added that Jean, Primm and the area around the site of the planned Ivanpah Valley airport would be good places to stop.

Some speakers were concerned about the DesertXpress being built at grade level and inevitable collisions with animals. Others said they were concerned about the noise. Some business people who own billboards are worried that the train and its tracks would block the view of their signs.

Comments also were raised about potential danger to construction workers if the final statement directs the railroad to tunnel in the Clark Mountains to avoid crossing into Mojave National Preserve land.

Charles Hall of the Clark County Department of Aviation said McCarran International Airport has a few concerns about the height of elevated track and electrical catenary beneath airport flight paths.

About a half dozen people wore T-shirts showing their support for DesertXpress rival the American Magline Group and its magnetic levitation technology. Charles Brown, who lobbied for a train stop in Jean, Primm and the airport site, wore a shirt that said, “If it doesn’t take you where you want to go, just say no.”

But most just viewed the Victorville stopping point as a head-scratcher.

“I’m bamboozled at how anyone would want to go to Victorville,” said Mike Price. “I would pay twice as much for a ticket if it went all the way to Los Angeles. It’s going to be like having your car break down in the middle of the desert.”

Alinka Ziska, a teacher whose students prepared letters for the FRA, said her pupils want to have the ability to get on a train and go to Disneyland.

DesertXpress leaders didn’t make any comments at the hearing, but the company has said repeatedly that it would work immediately on developing a train line between Victorville and Palmdale, Calif., 50 miles west, to tie directly to the California high-speed rail network.

Mark Fierro, who has worked as a publicist for the maglev project, told FRA administrators that DesertXpress hasn’t won any support since the first environmental impact statement hearing in March 2009. Instead, he said, the hearings are filled with “nervous laughter” from people who don’t think the DesertXpress has a chance of succeeding.

The public has until Oct. 18 to submit comments on the supplemental statement. The FRA has indicated that it plans to have a record of decision and a final environmental impact statement completed by the end of the year, which would enable DesertXpress to break ground by early 2011.
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...roposed-route/
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  #26  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2010, 7:06 AM
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Anyone have photos of the newly opened bridge by Hoover Dam?
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  #27  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 1:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun
Panelist: Region ignored too long on transportation issues
By Richard N. Velotta (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

Scott Smith, the mayor of Mesa, Ariz., recalled the day when he and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper first saw the U.S. Department of Transportation’s map showing preferred high-speed rail corridors in the United States.

The Northeast corridor was outlined and the planned California high-speed rail system was noted. There were lines in and out of Chicago, Florida, Texas and Georgia. But there was a big gap in the Rocky Mountains and the desert Southwest, where no corridors were shown.

“We looked at the map and we were stunned,” Smith said. “Pardon me for saying this, but we were pissed off. Not only did they forget about us, they completely disrespected us.”

And that’s why Smith, who recently was elected by fellow mayors from across the country to serve on the advisory board of the United States Conference of Mayors, decided that the Maricopa Association of Governments needed to be a part of the Western High-Speed Rail Alliance.

The alliance on Thursday wrapped up the second day of a three-day rail conference that has brought nearly 200 transportation experts to the Vdara. Utah Sen. Bob Bennett is scheduled to wrap up the event with a closing keynote address at lunch on Friday.

Other western transportation organizations felt the same way, leading the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Utah Transit Authority, the Regional Transportation Authority of Washoe County and the Regional Transportation Authority of Clark County to work together to get the West noticed by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Smith said rail corridors aren’t the only transportation elements that have been ignored by the federal government.

He cited interstate highway transportation and the fact that Phoenix and Las Vegas are the largest major cities in the country not linked by an interstate highway, a matter local transportation experts are hoping to change with a proposal for Interstate 11 from Phoenix north through Las Vegas to Reno and beyond.

“Our region has been ignored for far too long,” Smith said. “We have to go kicking and screaming and kicking down the door.”

Part of the process, he said, involves educating citizens about the disparity and explaining that high-speed rail is not a people mover but an “economic driver that happens to move people.”

“We have to be loud; we have to be there; we have to be obnoxious, but we have to be noticed,” Smith said.

Smith was joined by representatives from Utah, Colorado and Nevada on a panel about the vision of the Western High-Speed Rail Alliance and what it can do to get funding for western projects.

Jennifer Schaufele, executive director of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, said the alliance needs to emphasize that most of the growth in the last decade and what is forecast in the years ahead includes Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, with growth occurring three times faster than the rest of the United States.

But the geography of the area also makes for funding challenges, because high-speed rail needs straight or gently curving routes, which are hard to come by in the Rocky Mountains unless expensive tunneling is used.

John Inglish, general manager of the Utah Transit Authority, said voters twice approved sales tax increases in his state to pay for light rail and commuter lines in Salt Lake City, and the federal government should look at that local commitment when distributing funds for high-speed rail.

When the Utah projects are completed, 90 percent of the population along the Wasatch Front will be within a mile of major transit stop, Inglish said.

Michael Moreno of the Washoe County RTC said high-speed rail is critical to reinvigorating tourism in Nevada and with the state’s sustainability efforts.

He also noted that Northern Nevada, Salt Lake City and Denver are considering bids for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and any of those sites would be well-served by high-speed rail.

But panelists said one of the most compelling reasons why federal authorities should pay more attention to alliance states is that Las Vegas will be on the north end of what may be the first true high-speed rail project in the country with the DesertXpress.

Tom Stone, president of DesertXpress Enterprises, debuted his company’s newest video explaining the project and how it would set the stage for high-speed rail in the United States.

“Once we get this system up and operating, people in this country are going to clamor for high-speed rail around the country,” Stone said. “They don’t know what it’s about, but they will, and it will be a great boon to everything that you are trying to do.”

Stone also recommended that system developers do as much as possible to get their environmental permitting completed quickly.

“Focus your efforts upon route planning and identification of your additional segments and then get the EIS (environmental impact statement) process done for that segment,” Stone said. “That way, you will move to the top of the list for federal funding.”
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...t-region-must/
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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 8:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun

Hoover Dam bypass bridge gets warm welcome at dedication
By Kyle Hansen (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
Published Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 | 2:11 p.m.

The dedication ceremony Thursday of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge brought together states and cultures.

The bridge is the centerpiece of the Hoover Dam bypass, joining Nevada and Arizona with a quicker and safer route for U.S. 93 between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The dedication featured both states, with an honor guard from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the national anthem sung by students from Kingman, Ariz., and politicians from both states praising the structure.

The event also incorporated representatives of the native people who once lived on the land and used the Colorado River where the dam and bridge now stand. A spiritual leader from the Southern Paiute Tribe in Nevada offered a blessing and members of tribes from Nevada and Arizona took turns dancing on the new bridge.

The project was a group effort under the direction of the Federal Highway Administration along with the Arizona Department of Transportation; the Nevada Department of Transportation; the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the Hoover Dam; the National Park Service, which runs the Lake Mead National Recreation Area; and the Western Area Power Administration, which runs the power transmission lines that go to the dam.

“The bridge shows what we can achieve when we set aside individual agendas and work toward a partnership,” said Victor Mendez, the federal highway administrator. “I hope that serves as a model for the future.”

Work on the $240 million bypass project began in 2003. The bridge itself cost $114 million and is 1,900-feet long. It includes the longest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere and is believed to be the second-highest bridge in the nation, at 890 feet above the Colorado River.

“The real credit today goes to the thousands of men and women who planned, designed and built the bridge,” Mendez said. “Working in steep and dangerous terrain in temperatures that topped 100 degrees on 374 days, they left a legacy worthy of the people who built the dam itself three-quarters of a century ago. We owe them our thanks for their hard work, their skill and dedication.”

Many of the 1,200 people who worked on the bridge were at the dedication with their families.

Michelle Killmon and Chris Greedy didn’t physically build the bridge themselves, but they worked in the office on the construction site for Obayashi, one of the two main contractors.

“We never swung a hammer, but we did a part,” Killmon said.

The whole process was like having a baby, she said, “Watching it grow from nothing to a complete project.”

The dedication was both a sad and happy day, like seeing a child leave home, Greedy said.

“It’s exciting because it’s all done, but now we don’t have this monumental project,” she said.

“The next one won’t be as exciting,” Killmon added.

In addition to the main bridge, the bypass project includes 3 1/2 miles of roadway and a number of smaller bridges leading to the main bridge.

The bridge is named for Mike O’Callaghan, a former Nevada governor and executive editor of the Las Vegas Sun, and Pat Tillman, an Arizona Cardinals football player who joined the Army and was killed in Afghanistan. Both died in the spring of 2004.

Representatives of the O’Callaghan and Tillman families participated in the dedication.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said O’Callaghan was the best friend he ever had, except for his wife.

“Mike was born to bring people together. More than anyone I’ve ever met, he was born to serve others,” he said. “I never had the honor of meeting Pat Tillman, but I share the nation’s admiration for him.”

The bridge includes a pedestrian walkway with views of the dam, which is 1,700 feet upstream from the river below the bridge. Once the bridge opens to vehicles next week, visitors still will be able to walk across the bridge or drive across the dam, but will have to use an exit near the Hacienda Hotel.

Before cars use the bridge, the public will be given one more chance Saturday to explore it on foot. More than 20,000 people have registered to attend the event.

To fund the project, $100 million came from the federal government and Nevada and Arizona contributed $20 million each. An additional $100 million in bonds were issued by the two states to finish the project, and most of those bonds already have been repaid.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the bridge will help improve the economies of the two states and is a crucial part of an effort to build a future interstate, Interstate 11.

“I-11 will be the transportation corridor connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas, two of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country, promoting commerce, tourism and trade across the western United States,” she said.

Reid voiced his support for another section of the proposed interstate, the Boulder City bypass, which would connect the Hoover Dam bypass to the Henderson portion of U.S. 93 with a freeway.

“As long as I’m Nevada’s senior senator, I’ll do everything in my power to make sure the Boulder City bypass is finished,” he said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood used the bridge dedication to reflect on the past and look to the future of the nation’s transportation system.

The Hoover Dam is the “best known living legacy” of the New Deal, LaHood said. Now this bridge will be a similar symbol for this generation and the Great Recession.

“It reaffirms a powerful idea, Americans can still build great things not just in spite of economic challenges, but as a means of overcoming them,” he said. “This breathtaking dam and beautiful new bridge also demonstrate a larger point: Daring projects do not solve today’s problems, they support tomorrow’s possibilities.”

There is still major work to be done, he said.

“For the most part we are still living off of yesterday’s investment,” LaHood said. “This bridge above us, this monument to America’s can-do spirit, reminds us that it’s not too late for our generation to pass on a more perfect union to our kids and grandkids. We can still dream big and we hope that we will. We can roll up our sleeves and make this nation’s infrastructure the envy of the world once again, and if we work together in a bipartisan way, we will do exactly that.

“Now I know that the Hoover Dam is one of the wonders of the world,” he said. “I don’t know who gives that designation, but I hope the bridge will become another wonder of the world and if it does, there will be a lot of credit to go around.”
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...lcome-dedicat/
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2010, 9:21 PM
Vicelord John Vicelord John is offline
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I had a long conversation with Cindy Ortega, the head of green buiding for MGM Resorts. Let me just say I wish we had someone with her type of vision here in Phoenix doing work for our city. She explained to me all of the reused materials and green materials they used in CityCenter and I was blown away.
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  #30  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2010, 1:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun
Two Michael Jackson Cirque shows set for LV; tickets on sale Nov. 3
By Robin Leach (contact)
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010 | 1:44 p.m.

For the first time, Cirque du Soleil’s chief Daniel Lamarre has confirmed start dates for the two new Michael Jackson shows coming to Las Vegas. The first, a rock concert arena-type show, opens Dec. 15, 2011, with tickets going on sale Nov. 3.

The official announcement will be made from Los Angeles on Nov. 3, but you have the advance news here at Vegas DeLuxe in this exclusive. Tickets go on sale simultaneously in 25 cities for what will be the largest-ever music show going on tour in North America and around the world for four nonstop years.

The second, which will be a permanent residency show here, Cirque’s eighth, arrives in 2013. Both shows have the blessing of the Michael Jackson estate administrators. Cirque has budgeted an amazing $100 million just for creating and developing the two shows and expects that another $150 million will be added to the final costs for staging and theater construction.

The Jackson concert show will be performed twice nightly for two months in a reconfigured Mandalay Bay Events Center with just 8,000 seats per show. Cirque and MGM have not yet decided upon a hotel home for the second Jackson residency show and will come to that decision after seeing how the arena show works with all of its mind-blowing logistics.

I talked at length with Cirque head honcho Daniel on Monday night after the 8,000th performance of Mystere at Phil Ruffin’s Treasure Island. Here’s our conversation about the two new King of Pop shows and Daniel’s analysis of the extraordinary long-lasting appeal of Mystere, Cirque’s first residency show in Las Vegas.

Robin Leach: Now comes Michael Jackson -- two Michael Jackson shows. The first show is the one coming here to Mandalay Bay for a little while before going out on tour. The second show will be the residency show. Have you decided what hotel theater will become its home?

Daniel Lamarre: We’re still struggling with that final decision. We are still talking with people at MGM. I think the arena show will be a good test for us, and it certainly will have an impact on the final decision for MGM.

RL: When do you open the Mandalay Bay show?

DL: The first show opens Dec. 15, 2011. The second show will be at the beginning of 2013. The first arena show will globally tour in North America for two years and then as it leaves to go onto Europe and the rest of the world, we will open the permanent show here in a theater yet to be designated.

RL: How different will that show be to the arena touring show?

DL: The arena touring show is as close as you can get to a rock concert. Our audiences will have the feeling that Michael Jackson is alive. The permanent show will be much more theatrical. We are looking right now at a lot of new technology that we want to bring into Vegas for the first time.

RL: How far along in the development of both shows are you at this moment?

DL: For the arena show, we are done. The concept exists. It is approved by all parties. We will start rehearsing in Montreal this December, so we are really there already for the arena show. For the permanent show, we’re still exploring the new technologies that we would like to bring to Vegas. The preliminary concept exists for the theatrical show, but depending on how far we can go with new technologies, that will influence the final concept of the second show.

RL: Now when we talked about that several months ago, I sensed it would be 3D on steroids, where the audience gets inside as the show wraps all around outside them?

DL: Yes, that’s right. We really want to use the newest, latest of breakthrough technologies that have never been seen before or used theatrically before. There are a lot of conversations going on with a lot of different companies to see who can deliver to us the advanced technology that we’re looking for.

RL: Now that the concert show is 100 percent concept completed, is it with a Michael Jackson or without?

DL: Michael Jackson will be there on video, and then again we will bring in technologies that will make it seem that Michael is with us.

RL: But no lookalikes or soundalikes?

DL: People want to see the real Michael, and the real Michael will be very, very present on the unique video. His estate administrators have completely accepted the concept of the show, which is a great relief for us. Not only are we happy they have accepted it, but we’re happy they’re enthusiastic about the concept of the show. It will be a 90-minute show with all of his big hits, over 20 of the bestselling songs. The show will have about 72 artists: dancers, musicians and acrobats.

RL: Anything in this first show that Michael was developing for his London This Is It concerts?

DL: We have some video that was for the London show that will be integrated into the new show.

RL: What will we be amazed by most?

DL: I think the challenge here is to give the feeling to people that Michael is on that stage. We will do everything we can in terms of video and technologies to bring his presence to life.

RL: Did you learn anything from presenting Viva Elvis to tackle the Michael Jackson shows?

DL: If you take Love or Elvis, the challenge is always to be representative of that era. Obviously, Michael is from a different era than Elvis, and we have to make sure that if Michael were onstage, that’s what he would deliver. It will be him as he would be today.

RL: When do tickets go on sale?

DL: Nov. 3, 2010, we start selling tickets for the arena show at the Mandalay Bay box office and everywhere around North America. We have two shows a night to sell out for two months at 8,000 seats each performance. That’s the challenge. We’re cutting the number of seats down because we want to keep the proximity for the audience to the stage.

This is going to be just like a real rock and roll tour. Dozens of trucks -- well over 30 -- with staging and equipment will arrive in Las Vegas exactly as it will be when we go off around the world. Two years touring in North America and then another two years of global capitals. A monumental four-year world tour! It’s a huge challenge -- the largest we have ever undertaken, but we’re very excited about it.

RL: I always have to ask the money questions. What will be the cost of both shows?

DL: We’re talking close to $100 million for the two shows -- that’s just for the production. Then the cost of the theaters for both shows will add another $100 million to $150 million.

Daniel invited me to Montreal headquarters to watch rehearsals of the arena show. The present timetable calls for preliminary rehearsals beginning in December and then full rehearsals next summer before the company moves here in early fall.

Since we were sitting together in the Mystere Theater at Treasure Island after watching the 8,000th performance, I asked him why the show seemed the best it’s ever been.

DL: It’s amazing, I could feel the emotion because I met the artists before the show. I know how emotional they were about this 8,000 representation, and I’ve seen the reaction of the public tonight. Standing ovations throughout. What’s amazing to me is that the magic still works. The artists are still excited every performance.

Mystere has made history in the industry of entertainment because no one show of this magnitude has lasted so long. All the other shows that have more than 8,000 representations have duplicates, like The Phantom of the Opera or others with different casts in different places. This is only one show, one cast, one crew and 8,000 performances.

RL: There have been several updates over the years to Mystere. Is that how you ensure that each night looks better than ever before?

DL: That’s the only way. We have an artistic team working here, and every day they train, they try to make their show evolve, and that’s why after 17 years, the show is still relevant.

RL: Phil Ruffin told me a while ago that he’s given the show another five years’ extension here at T.I. Is that your understanding?

DL: That was the first thing that Phil told me when he bought the property from MGM. He said, “Daniel, don’t change anything. I love this show.” We renewed right away for an additional five years. It’s just amazing the occupancy level even in a struggling market. This show is still doing very well. Our house was full, and we still have standing ovations.

RL: Do you think it’s because it was the very first Cirque show and everything that came after was really a child to the parent?

DL: I think that’s what it is. I have people coming to me saying, “Daniel, this is the original.” There is a real extraordinary emotional link between the public, Cirque du Soleil and Mystere. To them, Mystere is the classic that will be around forever.”

Mystere remains in place as the timetable moves forward now for the premieres of the two Jackson shows. It is not a changing of the guard. This is where the proud parent welcomes the new arrivals and makes history all over again.
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...lv-tickets-sa/
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  #31  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2010, 4:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun



Las Vegas’ next thrill: High-flying balloon ‘bumper cars’
By Dylan Scott (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

In Stephen Meadows’ imagination, the sky isn’t even the limit. The innovator of Parabounce balloon technology is planning to bring his high-flying version of human-powered flight to the Las Vegas Strip next year.

Imagine this: 20 people, strapped to 22-foot helium balloons, floating and soaring about hundreds of feet in the air in a 100,000-square-foot “bubble dome.” Dubbed “Parabounce Vegas,” the venture will give its visitors an unforgettable experience, Meadows said.

Think of it as “3-D bumper cars,” he said.

“You’re flying. That’s the biggest thrill,” said Meadows, underlining the experience’s visceral appeal. The balloon’s design allows riders to navigate themselves, offering a complete sense of control in the air.

“It’s not an elevator ride,” Meadows said.

Meadows patented the Parabounce technology in 1996, initially using it for charity fundraising events. In 14 years since, Meadows and Parabounce have been featured on “The Today Show,” at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and landed on the White House lawn to greet then-President Bill Clinton.

The idea was born, Meadows said, when he was a child, tying plastic Army men and wads of paper to helium balloons. One day, he said, he wondered, “Why can’t I be the wad of paper?”

Decades later, Meadows said he is excited — “I have to contain myself” — to share the experience with everyone, regardless of physical prowess or disability.

Parabounce Vegas received preliminary approval for a lot near the Strip in 2008, and Meadows said he has investors at the ready.

With more than 40 million visitors a year and its reputation for the unexpected, Las Vegas is “probably the best place in the world” to launch Meadows’ new vision for the technology, he said.

“People here are very accepting of new ideas,” Meadows said. “They come here for new experiences.”

Meadows also plans to debut a new ParaBike — a flying bicycle — at the complex, as well as adding arcades and other features to supplement the “otherworldly experience.”

For those fearful of heights, Meadows was quick to point out that after 10 years and more than 1 million riders, Parabounce technology has never caused an injury.

Although “nothing is set in stone,” Meadows is planning to begin construction in May with an opening date later next year.
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...n-bumper-cars/
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  #32  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2010, 9:09 PM
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Read More: http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/alis...an-renaissance
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2010, 3:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Las Vegas Sun



Cosmopolitan throws open doors to public right on time
Visitors wait for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas doors to be opened Wednesday as the new property on the Strip opened to the public.
By Amanda Finnegan (contact)
Published Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 | 5:28 p.m.

The $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened its doors Wednesday night, giving the public its first glimpse inside the Strip’s newest resort — and the last to emerge from Las Vegas’ construction boom years.

Greeted by cheering employees and invited guests already inside, curious visitors poured into the Cosmopolitan from the Strip at 8 p.m. - right on schedule.

Crowds flooded the two pedestrian walkways leading into the Cosmopolitan and stretched past the neighboring Bellagio.

Inside, dealers were eager to pitch the first cards of the night, cocktail waitresses were ready to take their first drink orders and rows of slot machines were asking to be played.

Hotel guests — allowed to check in earlier Wednesday afternoon — were already seated at the gaming tables before the doors opened, ready to place the inaugural bets.

Joe Lombardo of Las Vegas found some opening night luck at a blackjack table near the front doors. The first hand of the night gave Lombardo a 17; the dealer busted and Lombardo decided to end his streak there.

“How many times do you have a chance to make the first bet at a Las Vegas Strip casino? It’s the only in the world like this,” Lombardo said.

Before the public opening, the Cosmopolitan hosted a private party for VIPs and other invited guests, who sampled the resort’s culinary offerings and took in its amenities. Las Vegas native and Killers frontman Brandon Flowers played a three-song set shortly after 6 p.m., followed by a longer performance at one of the resort’s pools late Wednesday night.

Cosmopolitan will host another opening bash on New Year’s Eve when the resort celebrates its grand opening with headliners Coldplay and Jay-Z.

Even executives from Cosmopolitan’s competitors, such as Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren and CityCenter President Bobby Baldwin, were on hand Wednesday to wish the resort well.

Other Las Vegas notables in the crowd included Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, Carolyn, Larry Ruvo and Elaine Wynn.

Cosmopolitan Chief Executive John Unwin, who cut the ribbon on the property at an opening ceremony Wednesday morning, spent the evening greeting hundreds of invited guests.

People jammed the casino floor, making it difficult to move through the new resort. Empty seats at the gaming tables and resort’s four bars and lounges were hard to come by. Upstairs in the Cosmopolitan’s restaurant area, visitors browsed menus and played pool in a common area - exactly how Cosmopolitan officials envisioned.

Since the casino broke ground in October 2005, locals and frequent tourists have tracked the evolution of Deutsche Bank’s Cosmopolitan, squeezed on 8.7 acres between MGM Resort International’s Bellagio and the multi-billion dollar CityCenter complex.

The resort continued to pique curiosity when it began a provocative TV ad campaign last month with its tagline: “Just the right amount of wrong.”

Unwin bills the Cosmopolitan as “polished without pretense,” a resort tailored to the “curious class” — a group of travelers who are creative, enjoy foreign foods, the arts and new experiences.

“We saw an opportunity to provide something to guests that hasn’t been in Las Vegas in the past,” Unwin said. “We know design is something customers are interested in when they visit other cities. It only makes sense that people would want to experience that when they come to a great destination like Las Vegas.”

Design and art are at the core of Cosmopolitan’s mission, with the works of creative minds such as Brad Friedmutter, David Rockwell and digital artist T.J. Wilcox around every corner.

In the resort lobby, guests are greeted by pillars of video boards playing video art by Digital Kitchen and David Rockwell Studio produced exclusively for the Cosmopolitan. Red Louis XIV-style registration desks replace the long check-in counters found in most hotels, a feature that Unwin says will add to a more personalized experience.

Visitors took notice of all of the design touches Wednesday, especially the Rockwell-designed Chandelier Bar at the center of the casino, a three-tiered bar dripping with 2 million glass beads.

Upstairs, guests discovered Cosmopolitan’s most unique feature in most of its 2,995 rooms - 6-foot-deep terraces that span the length of the room, a first at a modern Strip hotel.

The original condo plan of the Cosmopolitan has translated into a residential feel in its hotel rooms.

Also designed by Rockwell, the rooms feature kitchenettes, large bathrooms with soaking tubs overlooking the Strip and sitting areas with dark indigo couches and strategically mismatched pillows. Quirky accessories and coffee-table books on art pepper Cosmopolitan’s rooms, adding to the feel of a collected downtown apartment.

But some of the units are still involved in litigation from buyers who wanted to purchase condos at the resort. When Deutsche Bank took over the Cosmopolitan, the project had more than 1,800 units under contract, but developers settled with most buyers by refunding a portion of their security deposits.

Outside Wednesday night, disgruntled condo owners protested with signs saying “Cosmopolitan is a fraud” and “Why would you gamble here? They cheat!”

But aside from the handful of protesters, success seemed to be in Cosmopolitan’s grasp — at least on opening night.

Rachel and Frank Williams of Las Vegas took advantage of Cosmopolitan’s new rooms during one of the resort’s dress rehearsal days last weekend.

“Our room was so great because it had a view of the Bellagio fountains show and you could look down inside the conservatory,” Rachel Williams said.

Even though the Williams’ experienced the resort before its formal opening, the couple waited outside Wednesday night to see everything again.

Those who saw the doors swing open were part of an event that isn’t expected to happen for years to come. Analysts and gaming executives predict the Cosmopolitan will be the last Strip resort to open in the foreseeable future.

But Unwin doesn’t see Cosmopolitan as a bookend; he sees it as a game changer.

“I think we are at the beginning of something new. Las Vegas has a great history of reinventing itself,” Unwin said. “I don’t see this as an end to an era. I see this as a beginning of an era. People are going to stand up and recognize that we have something different to offer.

Warren Smith, who lives in Tampa, Fla., remembers a very different Strip when he lived in Las Vegas in the 1980s. As a professional musician, he worked at the Dunes, Sands, Stardust and Frontier casinos - all of which have been demolished to make room for towering glass structures like the Cosmopolitan.

“This whole block represents the rejuvenation of the city. From a personal point of view, I really root for these kind of places to succeed,” Smith said. “I know they are incredibly expensive. But when you look around and see all these people tonight, this is not only what Las Vegas used to be, it’s what it should be.”
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...tan-las-vegas/
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  #34  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2011, 2:26 AM
dragonsky dragonsky is offline
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DesertXpress high-speed rail project rolls forward
Officials say report is a step forward in Obama’s transportation plans
By Richard N. Velotta (contact)
Las Vegas Sun
Friday, March 25, 2011 | 4:22 p.m.

DesertXpress, a proposed $6 billion high-speed rail line that would link Las Vegas with Victorville, Calif., cleared another major hurdle Friday with the Federal Railroad Administration’s release of its final environmental report on the route.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the completion of the environmental impact statement, a document that was reviewed by five federal agencies, during a press conference at UNLV’s Science and Engineering Building.

The announcement also included presentations by Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Department of Transportation Director Susan Martinovich and UNLV President Neal Smatresk.

DesertXpress officials had expected the environmental report to be completed by the end of 2010 so the fact that was completed was no big surprise. But transportation experts say the announcement is significant because it is one of the first reports involving high-speed rail transportation, an important piece of President Obama’s transportation initiative.

An environmental report was completed for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, but that project is in jeopardy because Florida Gov. Rick Scott in February rejected federal money for the line.

Reid, LaHood and Martinovich didn’t answer specific questions about the report because they hadn’t seen the document, which was posted by the FRA earlier today.

One of the key aspects of the report is the location of the Las Vegas train station. Experts familiar with the project say the preferred site for the station is at Russell Road and Interstate 15.

The draft environmental report also considered two sites at Flamingo Road and I-15 and one in downtown Las Vegas, but the Russell Road site is preferred because of the additional cost of continuing the line farther north.

Additional right-of-way would have to be acquired to run the track to Flamingo Road or downtown and tracks would have to be elevated.

The rest of the report outlines preferred routes of the dual tracks that would run 185 miles, primarily along the I-15 corridor between Las Vegas and Victorville. The report analyzed several alternative corridors on portions of the route with the objective of avoiding desert tortoise habitats and other environmentally sensitive areas.

While DesertXpress officials attended the event, they didn’t participate in the conference with LaHood, Reid, Martinovich and Smatresk.

After the conference, Andrew Mack, chief operating officer of DesertXpress Enterprises, explained how important completion of the report is.

“It’s really significant for DesertXpress because it means that the six years of hard work by the federal and state agencies has reached a conclusion and it sets the path forward for final permitting so we can start the project,” Mack said.

Mack said he’s still uncertain when the company will be able to break ground for the project, but Reid said during the press conference that he was hopeful that it would occur before the end of the year.

DesertXpress has applied for a $4.9 billion loan through the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program, which provides direct federal loans and loan guarantees to finance development of railroad infrastructure.

Under terms of the program, funding may be used to develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities and direct loans can fund up to 100 percent of a railroad project with repayment periods of up to 35 years and interest rates equal to the cost of borrowing to the government.

If approved, the loan would be more than four times the amount the program has loaned to 28 railroad projects that have received loans through RRIF program since 2002.

Since 2002, the program has lent $1.02 billion with the largest loan, $233 million, going to the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad in 2003.

The FRA has hired an independent analyst to determine if ridership estimates, $50 one-way fares and other ancillary revenue will be enough to pay back the loan and prevent taxpayers from footing the bill.

The DesertXpress high-speed rail project would travel 185 miles through federal lands, a national preserve and two states.

LaHood and Reid had no update on the status of the loan request.

Mack said his company may not borrow the total amount in the request and has been awaiting the final environmental report to determine which route alternatives would be approved to determine a final cost of the project.

Transportation consultant Tom Skancke, who advises local government officials and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority about transportation matters, said today’s announcement “is a big victory in the transportation world.”

“It’s a big victory for the Obama administration’s vision of high-speed rail in the United States and a big victory for Sen. Reid in helping Nevada get the nation’s first high-speed rail transportation system,” Skancke said.

“This is also a great model as a classic public-private partnership,” he said. “Public-private partnerships often are criticized because companies seek up-front money for their projects. In this case, DesertXpress has invested a lot of their own money to get the environmental reports completed and are now going to the government with this loan request to build the project.”

Reid also said the project is important because of the jobs it would provide. He said DesertXpress would bring 35,000 jobs to Clark County alone with construction, operation as well as suppliers and vendors for the project. Several thousand more jobs are expected to be created in Southern California once the project begins.
Read More: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011...rolls-forward/
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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 3:14 AM
dragonsky dragonsky is offline
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 4:08 AM
Vicelord John Vicelord John is offline
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That seems incredibly stupid. If I want to go from LV to LA i have to go WEST around the santa monicas?!?!
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 6:06 AM
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^ It adds 30 miles to the trip compared to a straight shot from Downtown LA, which makes the dogleg 10% of the total journey. I don't think that's too bad.
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  #38  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 3:32 PM
Vicelord John Vicelord John is offline
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But why not down from victorville into redlands and through riverside county. You could easily eliminate that orange section.
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 7:52 PM
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combusean combusean is offline
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There's no ROW to do it? It's quite difficult to run a railroad through a mountain. It's not like this is the 19th century man.

*facepalms at the transit industrial complex making things vastly more expensive than they need to be*
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  #40  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 8:01 PM
Vicelord John Vicelord John is offline
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Originally Posted by combusean View Post
There's no ROW to do it? It's quite difficult to run a railroad through a mountain. It's not like this is the 19th century man.

*facepalms at the transit industrial complex making things vastly more expensive than they need to be*
There is room to drop south from Victorville and run it along the 210 corridor. I just think it would make way more sense and would get people there faster.
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