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Fremont Street Experience Brings Downtown Las Vegas Into Next Century
Four of the most photographed blocks in the world are in downtown Las Vegas--on Fremont Street. Visitors gasp in delight as they make the turn west off Las Vegas Boulevard where they are confronted with a dizzying collection of bright neon signs.
Beginning with the very birth of the city in 1905, Fremont Street has been the site of many milestones in the history of Las Vegas and gaming. In 1931, the first gaming license was issued to the Northern Club, 15 East Fremont Street.
One need only look at past pictures of downtown to see that Fremont Street has changed dramatically throughout the decades, growing from small roadside gambling halls into the diverse gaming resorts which now line the street.
Striving to continue this constant evolution into the next century and to keep the street vibrant and alive, eight owners of 10 downtown hotel-casinos in October 1993 united to form the Fremont Street Experience Company.
The project today is a public-private partnership between the City of Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience Company. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also has made a substantial contribution to the project. Together, they have invested $70 million into the Fremont Street Experience, a project like no other in the world that will make downtown a complete resort destination and a must-see attraction.
With the advent of the Fremont Street Experience, Fremont Street began an extraordinary journey--the next leg of its evolution. From Main Street to Las Vegas Boulevard, the street has been closed to make way for this one-of-a- kind project, which has enhanced the neon lights for which Fremont Street is famous, and has created a spectacular foyer to what Fremont Street offers-- world-class gaming, dining and entertainment in a friendly atmosphere.
These five blocks have been transformed into a dynamic environment. The street has, in fact, become the sole domain of people. Landscaping and patterned paving forming winding paths encourage visitors to stroll in this unique outdoor venue.
As visitors stroll through the mall, their eyes are drawn skyward where overhead towers a space frame, approaching 90 feet high at its apex, approximately 1,500 feet long and encompassing an area of nearly 200,000 square feet. The space frame, in addition to providing shade from the harsh Las Vegas sun, is the Fremont Street Experience's signature attraction.
Set into the inner surface of the space frame are 2.1 million lights. These lights come to life nightly in a computer-generated, multi-sensory show imposing in its magnitude. Backed by 540,000 watts of music and sound, animated images controlled by 30 computers within the space frame and a master computer in a main control room use the vast graphics display system as their stage, bringing a new vitality to the entire area.
Added to this are theatrical effects built into the columns which support the space frame. Two-hundred eight speakers provide booming, symphonic sound perfectly syncopated to the movements of images, creating a spectacular light and sound show on a scale grander than ever before contemplated. When the show takes a breather, visitors to the mall enjoy music piped into the sound system.
Conceived by noted architect Jon Jerde, whose credits include Horton Plaza in San Diego and City Walk in Universal City, Calif., Fremont Street Experience has drawn together an impressive "who's who" in the fields of production design, animation, music and construction.
The development team includes Atlandia Design, a subsidiary of Mirage Resorts, Inc., which provides expertise in design, scheduling, and other aspects of construction; construction manager Marnell Corrao Associates, with credits including several downtown hotel-casinos; and Young Electric Sign Company, the legendary creators of innumerable neon-and-light marquees and designer of the massive space frame graphic display system.
For the Light and Sound Show, the Fremont Street Experience called upon the artistic directors at Jeremy Railton & Associates to devise the stunning shows that will play nightly on the space frame. The colorful images that will "perform" nightly will be produced by The Baer Animation Company, Inc., with synchronized music scored by noted composer David Steinberg and the staff of his Earshot Music Productions.
Through the concerted efforts and talents of these professionals, the Fremont Street Experience has turned downtown into a unique urban theater with Fremont Street as its stage. Any number of events from sporting exhibitions to holiday celebrations can be played out here. The lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City will pale in comparison to the holiday festival that will dazzle visitors on Fremont Street.
To accommodate the increase in visitors to downtown, a 1,400-space parking plaza has been built. This five-level structure was designed with safety in mind, offering visitors a bright, clean, secure place to park, easily accessible by both car and foot traffic.
Housing the Fremont Street Experience executive offices and the main Light and Sound Show computer control room, the parking structure also will contain 45,000 square feet of exciting attraction-oriented retail space and entertainment.
In conjunction with development of Fremont Street Experience, the City of Las Vegas passed legislation that will make visiting the city's newest attraction hassle-free for the public.
In January 1995, the city approved and passed an ordinance banning panhandling within the Fremont Street Experience upon the project's completion. Later, in August 1995, the City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting the distribution of flyers and handbills to pedestrians visiting Fremont Street Experience.
Information provided by the Fremont Street Experience - Las Vegas (1995)
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