Posts tagged with "Las Vegas":

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Is Bleutech's Las Vegas smart city on the level?

“We’re working on a project that will blow your mind” is the first thing one sees when visiting the website for Bleutech Park, a Las Vegas “engineering firm” with the tagline “The future of infrastructure.” The firm is responsible for pitching what was anticipated to be the Las Vegas Valley’s $7.5 billion smart city, revealed earlier in August. The mastermind behind the futuristic development? Janet LeGrand, formerly known as Janet Garcia, a Florida woman with a history of alleged fraud and seeking out high dollar construction contracts, according to the Miami Herald Announced earlier this Summer by Bleutech Park Properties, Bleutech Park Las Vegas was promised to be the “first digital infrastructure city of its kind in the world,” complete with autonomous vehicles, 100-percent renewable energy, AI, “supertrees,” and self-healing concrete structures, among other features that sounded perhaps too good to be true. It was expected to break ground this December and take six years to complete, despite the fact that many of the technologies promised in the proposal are still in their infancy (and commentators on AN's original article voiced similar suspicions).  As it turns out, the Miami Herald has been reporting on LeGrand’s alleged transgressions since July 2017 when she first attempted to use an allegedly "fake" engineering firm, Bleu Network Inc., to score a $33.3 million construction contract with Homestead for a similar urban venture. She was then arrested, booked into Miami-Dade County Jail, and later filed a lawsuit against the city. In December 2017, she was charged again for wage theft, after allegedly failing to pay her employees hundreds of thousands of dollars.  While the Miami-Dade charges are set for trial next month, that didn’t stop LeGrand from posting bail, relocating, and attempting an even grander undertaking in Las Vegas. From the beginning, the advanced technology seemed to promise lofty sustainability goals. Such goals included creating tech that would make its “own off-the-grid energy” powered by the sun, wind, and even footsteps; “supertrees” that would support a 95-percent reduction in water consumption; as well as entire building facades functioning as solar panels. Tom Letizia, a spokesperson for Bleutech, told Commercial Property Executive, “We hope to inspire other developers to commit to sustainability in a whole new way for our future and to put benefits ahead of costs.” Over email correspondence, Letizia delivered a statement to AN from LeGrand: "The Miami Herald story was a total misrepresentation. I have complete faith in our judicial system and I have total confidence that justice will prevail with this case." Bleutech’s key technology partners—Cisco, Knightscope, Pavegen, and Onyx Solar, all reputable companies with tangible products—demonstrated their respective contributions at an event held in Las Vegas on August 28, where the project designer, KME Architects, also presented a batch of new renderings. The aforementioned tech partners, as well as the general contractor, Martin-Harris Construction, expressed excitement in moving forward with the plans on time. Guy Martin, president of Martin-Harris, declined AN’s request to comment on the current situation. KME could not be reached for comment at the time of writing, and AN will update this article accordingly if they respond. It remains to be seen whether the project will be completed as originally scheduled.
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Zappos invests in startup Geoship to build domes for the homeless

Geoship, a startup with a plan to revolutionize single-family housing, has caught the attention of Zappos via Tyler Williams, director of brand experience at the shoe retailer's Las Vegas headquarters. The two companies are now working together to make geodesic dome structures the homes of the future, addressing a variety of mounting social and environmental concerns in what they're calling affordable, regenerative architecture. Geoship’s dome structures are made of bioceramic, a self-adhesive material made largely out of phosphate, which can be recycled from wastewater. The material is touted as being "nearly indestructible," making it suitable for a world hurtling towards a climate crisis—the homes can withstand a heat of up to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit without burning, resist insects and mold, and can weather tremors and storm surge from earthquakes and hurricanes alike. All of this?  “Essentially, it’s like Legos going together,” Geoship founder Morgan Bierschenk told Fast Company. The startup claims their domes cost 40 percent less to build than traditional existing construction methods. The geodesic domed shape, similar to that of a soccer ball, is made up of faceted triangles and pentagons welded together via the bioceramic’s self-gluing properties. The form and its translucent, light-filled nature were popularized by great 20th-century architect and engineer Buckminster Fuller, who used the form and technology to build structures like his pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal or the Dymaxion House. The shape is inherently strong and structurally sound and this is further enhanced by Geoship’s combination of the classic form with a new material. Zappos jumped on the fundraising wagon with Geoship when Williams recognized the domes’ potential to address homelessness around its Las Vegas headquarters. The idea of a collective of the domes, made available for free to the homeless adjacent to Zappos's office, was a shared vision of both Bierschenk and Williams. The solution combines low-cost housing with extreme environmental sensitivity; Geoship claims that there is even a possibility that the domes could become carbon negative, as bioceramic has the ability to absorb amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Geoship also argues some more theoretical points—the domes are supposedly said to align with Vastu Shastra, a traditional Indian theory of architecture. The goal, though, is to appeal to a mass audience and modernize home building: “We started to question why we’re still pounding nails in wood, like people were doing 100 years ago,” said Bierschenk.   It may take some time before the unlikely partnership bears dome-shaped fruit; Bierschenk estimates it will be at least two years before the structures begin production. Whether we can "envision a new future for Earth" as Geoship encourages us to do remains to be seen—as well as the company's claims that the interiors of their domes harmonize the electromagnetic environment with biological systems—but at least the homeless population in Las Vegas may be getting a new form of housing.
 
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Can you envision a new future for Earth? The converging global crises of ecosystem disruption, democratic dysfunction, unaffordable housing, and increasing chronic disease are clear signals that it's time to dramatically transform where and how we live. Geoship's vision for the future of home is a natural earth sanctuary that calms your senses and restores balance; a place of maximum efficiency, beauty, and resilience. Where the light and electromagnetic environment harmonizes with biological systems. Inside, you feel connected to all that exists outside – nature, community, and the universe. Your dome is calling! #futureofhome #buckminsterfuller #domesweetdome #newparadigm #domehomes #geoship

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Las Vegas Valley may get its own $7.5 billion smart city

Bleutech Park Las Vegas is being pitched as the first digital infrastructure city of its kind in the world, and (paradoxically) the latest in a line of "smart cities" worldwide. Announced by real estate investment trust Bleutech Park Properties, the park will be a "digital revolution" meant to redefine the infrastructure industry and will allegedly feature autonomous vehicles, renewable energies, AI, "supertrees," self-healing concrete structures, and more. The project is expected to break ground in December in the Las Vegas Valley and take six years to complete, although many of the technologies being proposed are still in their infancy. The buildings will be equipped with self-healing, energy-generating, and breathable materials and, according to Bluetech, the construction site will become a “living, breathing blueprint”. The flooring systems will capture and reuse the energy produced by human movement throughout common areas and parking structures. Bleutech Park buildings will also connect to a network of “supertrees”, allowing a 95 percent reduction in imported water consumption and an opportunity to improve biodiversity. All building facades will feature photovoltaic glass, a technology that converts light into electricity, turning entire exteriors into single solar panels. The company will also use what it's calling "aerial construction" to build the development, including the use of drones for navigating dangerous portions of the construction site. The mixed-used mini-city aims at tackling issues like affordable housing through “Workforce Housing”, a reciprocal act of service for those that serve the community, including nurses, police officers, teachers, firemen, and more. This unique approach is a foundation of Bleutech’s overall vision and ensures economic, cultural, and health benefits to people of all income levels in Las Vegas. Additional program includes offices, retail space, luxury housing, hotels and entertainment venues that will showcase energy generation and storage, waste-heat recovery, water purification, waste treatment, and localized air cleaning. City spokesman Jace Radke told Smart Cuties Dive that the project is not within Las Vegas's jurisdiction and is not affiliated with the city. Bleutech Park’s partners on the project are Cisco, construction contractor Martin-Harris Construction, Las Vegas real estate developer Khusrow Roohani, and the Las Vegas Laborers Union Local 872 with a promise to create more than 25,000 jobs in construction. The project is similar to other privately-funded smart city tech test sites, like the Sidewalk Labs Quayside project in Toronto and Blockchains LLC’s plans to build a 60,000-ace city near Reno.
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Wynn Resorts sues rival for imitating its architectural style

Wynn Resorts, the owner of several casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere, is suing Resorts World Las Vegas because its forthcoming Sin City casino will allegedly be too architecturally similar to various Wynn properties. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the case has now been filed in court. Resorts World's casino is under construction across the street from Encore and Wynn Las Vegas, which are both housed in curved bronze glass-clad high rises similar in style to other Wynn buildings in Boston and elsewhere. Wynn claims that the Resorts World casino, which will also include a curved bronze bar building, will be mistaken for a Wynn property and could damage Wynn's reputation and brand standing by association. Renderings of the Resorts World casino, designed by Steelman Partners, show the complex festooned in red, Chinese-inspired flourishes but with the curved bronze buildings clearly visible. Probably exacerbating the conflict is the fact that the two casinos will sit almost directly across from each other. The Resorts World complex, designed by Las Vegas–firm Butler/Ashworth, is set to open in 2020 with a clear view to its rivals. As the Review-Journal reported, this is not the first time Wynn has taken a rival to task for imitating its trademark style. The company previously sued Universal Entertainment for a too-similar project in the Philippines. While this case is probably an enormous headache for all the architects directly involved, it's an indication to other architects that at least some businesses place great importance in architecture and credit buildings for helping to build and maintain a successful enterprise. Underlying Wynn's suit is a tacit assumption that architecture matters and is a vital component of its business that is worth protecting. The Strip that inspired Learning From Las Vegas may have more to teach. h/t Construction Dive
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Against all odds, progressive land-use reforms are taking root in American cities

With Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles moving forward with progressive land-use and transportation reforms last week, much of the conventional thinking behind how American cities work could soon be upended.  As the converging threats of climate change, housing unaffordability, and pollution continue to hamstring the country’s urban areas, cities across the country are taking matters into their own hands by enacting bold but common-sense reforms in the face of federal and state inaction. For one, a groundbreaking comprehensive plan update in Minneapolis that would eliminate the city’s single-family zones took a step forward last week after two years of public debate and negotiations. The so-called 2040 Minneapolis Plan would make the city the first in the country to upzone all of its single-family residential neighborhoods to allow up to three dwelling units per lot. Under the 2040 initiative, the city will be able to re-establish a tradition of building what’s known as “missing middle” housing, the types of naturally affordable small- to medium-scale neighborhoods that make up the backbones of most American cities built before the 1950s. The plan is designed to break down racial and income disparities between neighborhoods in the city while allowing Minneapolis to absorb expected job and population growth over coming decades. Housing activists across the country are now looking to Minneapolis to see how the experiment plays out as efforts to enact similar policies pick up across the country, especially in Seattle, where a similar effort is gaining steam. In Oregon, a plan to eradicate single-family zoning in cities with 10,000 or more residents took a step forward this week. Aside from taking on exclusionary zoning, other cities, including Buffalo, San Francisco, and San Diego, are looking to eliminate off-street parking requirements to varying extents as they work to reclaim the enormous amount of space taken up by parked cars. In 2017, Buffalo became the first municipality in the country to totally eliminate parking requirements city-wide. The effort comes as part of a new zoning initiative that will bring what is known as a “form-based code” (FBC) to the city. As the name implies, FBCs typically regulate the overall geometries of urban areas by setting particular height limits, setbacks, and other design guidelines that can be followed regardless of use. The approach runs counter to more common use-based codes that carve cities up into monofunctional areas with residential, industrial, and commercial districts. FBCs are seen both as a way of re-establishing mixed-use neighborhoods while also creating contextual and preservation-friendly zones. With the update, Buffalo joins Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami, which have also recently enacted FBCs. Over in California, as the state’s new legislature takes up a series of bold housing reforms, San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer is one step ahead with a proposal to scrap parking requirements for transit-adjacent areas. A new proposal would eliminate required parking for housing located within 1/2-mile from a transit stop, a change similar to a state-wide effort that was derailed last year. The latest effort, according to the mayor, will be geared toward lowering the cost of building housing—a single parking stall adds between $35,000 and $90,000 in costs per unit of housing in the state—while also resulting in shorter and less bulky buildings. San Francisco has taken the proposal one step further by moving to become the largest city in the country to scrap parking requirements outright. City Supervisor Jane Kim put forward a measure this month to totally eliminate the requirement city-wide in an effort to bolster the city’s climate bona fides and help reign in housing costs. But don’t call it a “parking ban,” developers will instead be allowed to build parking up to a maximum threshold if they deem it necessary. The yet-to-be-approved initiative could go into effect next year. Nearby, Sacramento is working to enact a city-wide transit-oriented development plan that would limit drive-through restaurants and gas stations and lower parking requirements within 1/2-mile from transit stops in the city. Change is afoot even in car-loving Los Angeles, where an ambitious but currently under-funded plan to build 28 large scale transit projects by the 2028 Olympic games has prompted local officials to consider so-called “congestion pricing.” No official plan has been unveiled, but the Los Angeles Metro CEO Phil Washington last week presented several ideas that could potentially fill the funding gap, including requiring drivers to pay for traveling in some of the city’s most congested areas. To boot, Curbed reported that during a presentation to the Metro Board of Directors, Washington even proposed using the fees generated from congestion pricing to make Los Angeles the first city in the United States to offer free public transportation every day of the year.
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Raiders' Las Vegas stadium clears final hurdle

Today the Raiders inked a deal that allows for construction to proceed on their 65,000-seat, Manica Architecture–designed stadium in Las Vegas. Raiders President Marc Badain and Steve Hill, chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the public entity that facilities the construction and financing of the project, agreed to a deal that allows the $1.8 billion project to move forward. With that, the Raiders are cleared to move from their current home in Oakland, California, to their new digs in the Nevada desert. So far, the team has spent $180 million on the stadium, a figure that includes preliminary site work and last year's $77.5 million purchase of the 62-acre property. At the meeting in Orlando yesterday, NFL owners okayed a $200 million league loan that will finance the construction, with only one of the league's 32 owners voting against the deal. On the public side, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Clark County (which includes Las Vegas) will direct $750 million in hotel room tax revenue towards the project. In a Q&A posted on the Raiders website, owner Mark Davis expounded on the stadium design, comparing it favorably to the stadium the team almost occupied in California:
"I think it’s an iconic building, number one. It’s something that… the basic structure of it and everything has brought the dynamic back to what we were doing with the Carson building with the Chargers. I just fell in love with the architectural design of it. To adapt that building that we did for Carson, put a roof on it… to come out with glass, which has always been a prerequisite for me. To get that aspect done, I think building looks fantastic. Just excited that the Raiders will have a home. Something the fans can be proud of, the league can be proud of, the players can be proud of..."
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that construction is expected to be finished by August 1, 2020, about a month before the regular season begins.
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Behold the MSG Sphere, a futuristic venue with precision sound coming to Las Vegas

Is this the world's most futuristic venue? Like most of Las Vegas, the forthcoming MSG Sphere will be built to dazzle the eyes—and ears. The 18,000-seat venue will feature what's known as beamforming audio, an acoustics technology developed by the German company Holoplot that uses planar audio waves to send sound directly to a specific location. Unlike typical speakers, which diffuse sound in spherical waves that bounce on every surface, beamformed audio is so precise that two people sitting close by can hear two different sounds without interference. The venue hopes to leverage interactive technology by providing high-speed internet for each seat. That way, fans can not only document their experience on social media, but interface with artists on stage during live performances. Up top, screens will span the 180,000-square-foot ceiling, and bass can be pumped through the floor of the sphere. Developer Madison Square Garden Company hopes the latter feature could be especially appealing to fans of mainstream electronic dance music (EDM): It hopes to book big EDM acts like Swedish House Mafia and Deadmau5, according to USA Today. Outside, the Sphere will feature 190,000 linear feet (36 miles) of LED lighting, so spectators could watch a concert going on inside, or have their retinas burned by a solid luminous ball, depending on the day. A camera system deployed throughout Las Vegas will collect and project images of the city onto the facade, too. Even though Madison Square Garden Company, the same team behind New York's eponymous venue, is behind the project, there will be no basketball or hockey at the Sphere (there may be boxing or MMA, though). The project will break ground later this year, and the developers estimate the venue will be open by 2020.
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Las Vegas supersized convention center expansion approved

The already-giant Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is about to get even bigger, thanks to an expansion by Atlanta's tvsdesign. This week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors approved tvsdesign to spearhead the $860 million addition, and after renovations, the exhibition hall will be North America's second-largest (top honors go to Chicago's McCormick Place). The firm is collaborating with Henderson, Nevada's TSK Architects, as well as Las Vegas's Simpson Coulter Studio, Carpenter Sellers Del Gatto Architects and KME Architects on the 1.4-million-square-foot design. The megaproject will proceed in phases. This phase, the LVCC District Expansion, is expected to be finished by the end of 2020, while a subsequent renovation of the existing 3.2-million-square-foot convention center will wrap in 2023. "What gets us out of bed in the morning is doing big, complex projects that are important and have a meaningful impact on people’s lives," said Rob Svedberg, tvsdesign principal, in a statement. "The Las Vegas Convention Center expansion is just that: big, intricate and positioned to deliver a positive impact on many lives. We are thrilled about the opportunity to create an iconic design for the world’s greatest convention city." tvsdesign is part of the design-build team selected this year to realize the $1.5 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The firm also worked on the $585 million Music City Center in Nashville. Last year, 22,000 meetings, conventions and trade shows were held in Las Vegas. When it's complete, the larger LVCC is expected to attract 2 million visitors per year.
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Las Vegas will test the first self-driving public shuttle in the U.S.

Yet another unusual attraction has joined Las Vegas’ iconic downtown strip. ARMA, an autonomous, all-electric shuttle bus designed by French start-up, Navya, has been introduced to the city's downtown traffic. The pilot project, made possible through Las Vegas’ partnership with the mass-transit company Keolis and the American Automobile Association(AAA), marks the country's first autonomous shuttle to operate freely within real-world traffic conditions. The bean-shaped vehicle carries eight passengers and is equipped with a computer monitoring system, GPS technology, electronic curb sensors, laser sensors, vehicle-to-infrastructure guidance and a variety of camera systems. Constant wireless communication between the vehicle and sensors set up throughout the area provide real-time information for ARMA to navigate its way through the bustling Las Vegas streetscape. While there are no steering wheels or brakes in the shuttle, an emergency stop button and a human attendant are stationed in the vehicle in case of emergency. Through the course of this year-long pilot project, the shuttle is offering free rides on a half-mile loop in the downtown Fremont East Innovation District of Las Vegas. The half-mile route has just three stops – located on Fremont Street and Carson Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and 8th Street – but is to-date the longest self-driving pilot project to operate in a fully-integrated manner within a real-world city environment. ARMA can operate up to 8 hours on a single charge, and reach a speed of 28 miles per hour. Over the next 12 months, the project aims to provide 250,000 free rides and help soothe public skepticism towards autonomous vehicles. In addition to familiarizing the public to these new technologies, this project will provide real-life research on the relationship between autonomous vehicles and pedestrians, bicycles and other human-operated traffic. Las Vegas will serve as a valuable test site for the future of autonomous transport within the urban environment. If Las Vegas can make it work, we can perhaps expect the expansion of self-driving technology on a broader scale throughout the country. Navya expects electric shuttles to be more affordable to maintain than combustion-powered vehicles. However, the cost of such projects are not cheap to install. Currently, a single Navya shuttle is estimated at around $260,000.
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Las Vegas ballpark revealed for master-planned desert community

Three years ago, the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) bought Las Vegas’s Triple A baseball team, the 51s, with the plan of relocating the team from its outdated facility north of downtown Las Vegas to a new state-of-the-art facility in Summerlin, the company’s massive master-planned community of more than 100,000 people at the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley. Last week HHC unveiled the preliminary design of Las Vegas Ballpark, its new 10,000-capacity ballpark, designed by the San Francisco office of HOK. It is the latest sign that sports are becoming increasingly important both to Las Vegas’ ambition of becoming a “real city” as well as a driver of a new generation of more urban development. This season also marks the debut of Las Vegas’ NHL franchise, the Golden Knights, playing out of a new arena on the Las Vegas Strip (itself part of a large pedestrian-oriented plaza space on the Strip). The NFL’s Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, will relocate to Sin City in a brand new stadium starting in 2020. The new baseball park will form the centerpiece of a 400-acre tract called “Downtown Summerlin.” The ballpark will join an existing 1,000-room hotel casino, a large outdoor shopping center that opened in 2014, and a practice rink for the Golden Knights which opened last month. Over the next 10 to 15 years, Hughes expects to fill in the rest of the site with new office buildings, small parks and up to 4,000 urban dwelling units — none of which will be single-family detached homes. The design, which is still being finalized, will leverage the park's connection to the desert – the ballpark is a short drive from the color-drenched mountains of the Red Rock National Conservation Area.“There’s something about a project in the desert that’s a little bit different than a project in other places,” said Anton Foss, Managing Principal of HOK's San Francisco office. The base will be comprised of stucco and earthy burnished blocks. "We’re emphasizing the materiality of the ground — pieces of the project being of the earth," said Foss. The other design cue was the legacy of Howard Hughes himself. The aviator and industrialist originally bought up the 25,000-acre parcel that became Summerlin in the 1950s. Development of the land as a master-planned community didn’t begin until the late '80s. Foss said early plans actually considered trying to incorporate a Hughes museum on site, complete with his legendary Spruce Goose flying boat aircraft. The idea was abandoned, but it got Foss and his colleagues thinking about Hughes’ aviation legacy. Inspired by aircraft, the upper section is composed of exposed structural steel, glass and metal panels. The roof, Foss promised, “will touch the sky lightly like an aircraft wing.” A few Vegas touches are planned for the ballpark, including an outfield pool and an outfield concourse lined with games like ping pong tables and corn hole. Las Vegas usually hosts a few Cactus League games during Spring Training, so the new stadium will feature amenities like a clubhouse and a weight room that are designed to impress major league players. But the watchword here is more about grace than glitz. The design will eliminate complex vertical circulation like ramps — despite an 18-foot west to-east downward slope, the entire park can be accessed by one 360-degree, sloping circulation system. The ballpark, estimated to cost $150 million, is scheduled to break ground early next year and open for the 2019 season. As for the 51s' current home, Cashman Field, plans for next year include hosting a new minor league soccer franchise which will play alongside the baseball team until the 51s move. Beyond that, there are more question marks. The city is kicking around a variety of ideas, ranging from a sports complex (if the minor league soccer team draws interest, it could lead to a Major League Soccer franchise in a few years) to a new campus for tech giant Amazon, which has invited cities to bid for the chance to host their new headquarters. The Cashman ballpark dates back to 1983 and is one of the oldest Triple A fields in the country. It is part of a larger complex called Cashman Center, which includes a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall. Just north of downtown Las Vegas, but cut off by an elevated freeway, the Cashman site is adjacent to a popular outdoor neon museum and a public library. The ongoing redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas has yet to cross over the freeway. For Tom Warden, Senior Vice President with the Howard Hughes Corporation, the future of both Downtown Summerlin and Downtown Las Vegas are bright. For him, the 400-acre Downtown Summerlin site is a dream opportunity to implement New Urbanist policies devoted to walkable, pedestrian-scaled environments on an unprecedented scale. “To be able to build that way tabula rasa is an exciting thing for planners,” he said.
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Las Vegas gambles its future on sports, conventions, and leisure

As Las Vegas recovers from the Great Recession, city and business leaders are betting that the region’s future lies in a more diverse set of recreational offerings than the ones that made the city famous. Though many of the transformative projects are still in the planning or construction phases, the signs are clear: The boom-and-bust region is moving away from a strictly gambling-focused urbanism toward one more broadly defined by indiscriminate leisure, including sports, large-scale conventions, relaxation, and even traditional mixed-use urbanism.

Most spectacularly, city and business leaders triumphed in their quest to lure the Oakland Raiders to Sin City with a new $1.9 billion stadium designed by Kansas City, Missouri–based Manica Architecture. The stadium, to be built for the 2020 season, features a horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement that faces an operable building wall oriented toward the Strip. The complex will feature a celebration terrace containing a 120-foot tall cauldron honoring storied Raiders coach Al Davis, as well.

Adding to the sports frenzy, local architects YWS recently unveiled plans for a 30,000-square-foot Esports venue, Las Vegas’s first virtual sports facility. The complex will contain a multilevel arena, large-scale video wall, and a broadcast studio, all expected to open in early 2018.

The city is scrambling to prepare for the Raiders by embarking on $900 million in road and transit improvements, including a potential 1.14-mile monorail extension. The link would create a five-mile-long elevated train line connecting the stadium with 12 hotel and casino properties and the Las Vegas Convention Center. To boot, state agencies recently proposed a $12.5 billion plan for a new light rail system for the city.

The city is also looking to expand and upgrade its existing convention center by adding 600,000 square feet of exhibit space to the aging complex. The bet here is for Las Vegas to draw larger convention crowds, competing with cities like Orlando and Chicago (which are also expanding their convention centers). The new convention center is expected to draw an additional 610,000 visitors to the city, plus $810 million in revenue for good measure.

Closer to the forthcoming stadium, work has been underway to diversify the city at the street level as well. Recently completed streetscape improvements by planning firm Cooper Robertson, Marnell Companies, and !melk landscape architects for the Park—an eight-acre pedestrian plaza and park located between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts—have brought a bit of big-city life to the Strip. Designers on the project reoriented retail spaces to face what was formerly an alley and demolished a temporary sales center to create a new pedestrian park. Donald Clinton, partner at Cooper Robertson, said, “We were tasked to come up with new dining and entertainment uses that could actually face the strip.” When asked, “How can we upgrade what we’re doing in front of these older casinos?” Clinton explained that the project sought to bring new tenants to the reprogrammed street who could benefit from being near foot traffic while also connecting to the new, !melk-designed park. The design features a variety of native trees and shrubs, swale areas, and large, sculptural shade structures that collect water. The park is flanked on several sides by plaza areas serviced directly by brewpubs and cafes.

The scheme was enriched by the speculative development of the Populous-designed T-Mobile Arena, an LED-clad, diamond-inspired structure that seats up to 19,000 and contains a slew of VIP zones, lounges, and nightclubs at the end of the new promenade. Clinton explained that the city’s new approaches to urbanism were “still evolving,” but one thing is clear: Las Vegas is quickly becoming more than a gambler’s paradise.

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Raiders purchase 62-acre site for Las Vegas stadium

The Oakland Raiders National Football League (NFL) team has completed the purchase of a 62-acre site for their future stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas Journal Review reports that the site, located just to the west of the Mandalay Bay resort, cost $77.5 million to acquire, roughly 25 percent cheaper than had been originally anticipated. Site acquisition will allow the team—whose move to Las Vegas was approved in March by NFL team owners—to continue to pursue construction of their new $1.9 billion Manica Architecture-designed complex. The stadium design was repurposed and adapted to the Las Vegas climate from an earlier bid by the Raiders to move to Los Angeles. The 65,000-seat stadium will be located adjacent to Interstate-15 and will be connected to the city’s expanding monorail system once it is built out to Mandalay Bay in the coming years. In its current form the stadium's design includes an active facade with sliding panels that can open and shut depending on the weather. The real estate purchase also came with a shift in financials for the stadium proposal with billionaire Sheldon Adelson, one of the main backers of the relocation scheme, withdrawing his $650 million investment in the venture. Instead, the developers for the project have secured a $650 million loan from Bank of America that will be used to round-out the financial package for the project. The Raiders’s move comes after emotionally-fraught negotiations with Oakland city leaders and institutions fell through. Officials there that sought to keep the team in the Bay Area by reworking the team’s existing stadium which is currently shared with the Oakland Athletics baseball team. The future of that plan—and the Oakland-Alemeda Stadium, the last major stadium shared by major league football and baseball franchises in the country—is still up in the air. The Raiders will continue to play at in Oakland stadium through the 2019 season and are expected to move into their new stadium in Las Vegas for the 2020 NFL season.