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MSG Sphere venue in Las Vegas moving forward with contractor

The builder of Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena has been named general contractor of the MSG Sphere performance venue being built just off the Strip.

The Madison Square Garden Company on Monday said Los Angeles-based AECOM, a multinational engineering firm with offices in Las Vegas, was selected to build the high-tech 17,500-seat spherical facility just east of The Venetian.

In addition to the 3-year-old, $375 million T-Mobile Arena, AECOM has built Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena in Atlanta as well as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York.

“We are making important progress in Las Vegas and are pleased to have added another world-class company to our team,” Jayne McGivern, MSG’s executive vice president of development and construction, said in a statement Monday.

MSG officials did not say how many workers are on the site, but analysts from Hobbs, Ong &Associates say the project will create 3,500 construction jobs and 4,400 permanent jobs once the building opens.

The venue

MSG is promising a fully immersive experience on a large scale. Inside the venue, guests will be surrounded by the largest and highest-resolution LED screen on Earth. More than 160,000 square feet of display surface — equal to three football fields — will wrap up, over and behind the stage and audience, delivering a totally immersive visual environment at a resolution 100 times better than today’s high-definition televisions.

Every guest will hear crystal-clear audio with an advanced acoustics system that features beamforming technology, enabling audio to be directed to specific locations in the bowl at a volume that remains constant, from point of origin to destination. Beamforming technology also enables multiple forms of content to be delivered simultaneously, which means two people sitting 5 feet apart could hear completely different sounds, adding to the possibility for a customized experience. In business presentation environment, that means soundtracks can be beamed to specific areas in different languages without headphones while watching the same presentation.

An infrasound haptic system will use deep vibrations so that guests can “feel” an experience, whether it’s an erupting volcano or a passing motorcycle roaring by.

The MSG Sphere at The Venetian also will ignite the sense of smell through evocative scents designed to transport audiences.

Additionally, the venue will introduce a new architecture for connectivity that will deliver 25 megabits per second for every guest, enabling a broader range of content and greater interaction.

Long-term investment

“AECOM’s experience creating bold, innovative projects makes them the ideal partner for bringing MSG Sphere at The Venetian to life,” she said. “We look forward to working with them to deliver a truly groundbreaking experience for Las Vegas, one that will ultimately redefine the entertainment industry and serve as a long-term investment in the city’s role as a leading international tourist destination.”

MSG is partnering with Las Vegas Sands Corp. on the project, with MSG designing and building the venue and Sands providing the land. The cost of the project has not been disclosed.

The building, planned to be 360 feet tall and 516 feet wide at its broadest point, is being built on 18 acres off Sands Avenue between Manhattan Street and Koval Lane. The new performance venue will be connected to The Venetian and Palazzo at the Sands Expo &Convention Center with a 1,000-foot pedestrian bridge.

After several months of securing permits and passing Clark County reviews, MSG representatives said, site preparation is nearing completion.

AECOM, through a preliminary agreement, has been working on the site since February.

Workers excavated an estimated 110,000 cubic yards of dirt and caliche from the site while drilling 595 augercast piles to secure the building’s foundation. Caliche is a concrete-hard calcium carbonate substance commonly found below the ground at construction sites.

Miles of piles

The piles securing the foundation will be drilled as deep as 75 feet. The 595 piles will result in a total of 51,324.7 feet of drilling — about 9.7 miles. A total of 2.77 million pounds of rebar are being used to reinforce the piles.

Crews also are excavating up to 21.5 feet deep for the basement of the Sphere structure.

“We’re excited to partner with The Madison Square Garden Company to deliver a next-generation venue in the heart of the world’s most celebrated entertainment capital,” said Michael Burke, AECOM’s chairman and CEO, in a statement Monday. “We’re thrilled about this opportunity to leverage our unrivaled construction management capabilities and expertise on the world’s most complex projects to help transform an ambitious vision into a destination venue unlike any that exists today.”

AECOM is a Fortune 500 firm that had revenue of about $20.2 billion during 2018 fiscal year.

It joins architect Populous, a leading design firm, and Rider Levett Bucknall, which will serve as project manager.

A ceremonial groundbreaking with appearances by then-Gov. Brian Sandoval, Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and Jim Dolan, chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, occurred in late September.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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