Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boise Firm Helps Build Vegas' Colossal City Center

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Touted as the "Capital of the New World," the more than 70-acre, $8.5 billion City Center, situated right on the Vegas Strip, is a study in opulence.

City Center, the largest privately funded construction project in the United States (MGM Mirage and Dubai World hold the papers on the massive project) sits between the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo. It contains seven giant towers that house residences, resort hotels, casinos (of course) and luxury spas. And then there's Crystals, a mod entertainment and retail center that carries designer products only the Housewives of Orange County and stars with one name—Oprah, Madonna, Fergie—can afford. Crystals (called such because visitors feel like they are in a crystalline structure) is also set to house the first grocery store on the strip.

Lochsa Engineering (named after Idaho's Lochsa River)—with offices in Las Vegas, Nev. and here in Boise—played a large role in the development and infrastructure of many elements of the project: spas, casinos and especially Crystals. Construction began in 2006 and for the past couple of years, my brother-in-law Riley Mahaffey, a principal in the Boise office, divided his time between Boise and Vegas working on City Center.

As an engineer, Riley's job was to make sure everything holds up like it's supposed to. For example, he told me that the design of one of the high-end spas included using huge, very expensive stone on the walls. The cost of the stone coupled with the seismic activity in that part of the country required down-to-the-micron details on where and how each piece of stone was placed.

Though Riley kindly offered more details on the construction in layman's terms, I think the pictures he sent me do the whole thing much more justice. The interiors are of Crystals.

And you can watch a two-minute time-lapse video of City Center being built from the ground up here.

Amazing.

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