PROJECT ALTIS –
CELEBRATING THE 100TH
OLYMPID OF 380 BCE (CIRCA 1997)
The City of Las Vegas and Clark County have long coveted
a domed stadium they could call their own. In 1995 the architectural firm of
HNTB issued a forward-looking study that projected that should a 55,000-seat stadium be built, it would operate at a profit. It also said that the construction costs would have to be borne by the community. While ‘the build it and they will come’ belief was there, it did not extend
to believing that the Valley’s citizens would be willing to underwrite a stadium's construction cost. Since then there have been a number of ambitious stadium project proposals, even one with 110,000 seats.
All, thus far, have remained unfunded.
Never shying away from a challenge, Project Altis is the solution put forward by the Doultons.
The biggest financial issue with stadiums is inconsistent
productive use. The second is that, to all but the most devoted sport fans, their
sheer mass in the middle of an enormous parking lot is seen as a blight on the horizon. How do you make a stadium
profitable and attractive at the same time? Imagination and a openness to ignoring
the rules of the game is where the Doultons began.
Having an average interest in sports ourselves, we
recognized that real experts would be required to see us through the nuances of how sporting events function. Rather than seeking out modern stadium architects, we sought the insight of perhaps the most skilled
designer of sporting events of all time. Our chosen team leader was
a personage from out of the past, a modest man by the name of Alexias of Acharnia, master planner of the 100th
Olympiad of 380 BCE. Alexias was also the son of Demiskos, six time winner of
the ‘crown of laurel’ at the 98th Olympics and a personage in his own right. Lent to us by the Gods of Mount Olympus, for 1000 earthly days, Alexias left his home within the Elysian
Fields (Greek heaven) to create a new earthly home for the Gods within a re-created Altis Forest, earthly home of the
Gods of Olympus while attending the ancient Olympics. He consulted, of course,
with an earth-bound team of architects and engineers.
He had much to say about what he saw and felt about Las
Vegas. Much of what he saw he liked, while other aspects he was most curious
about why they were done the way they were. He was encouraged to seek his own
solutions and let the chips fall where they may… so to speak.
Firstly in Alexias’ time, the Olympics hosted up
to 40,000 guests a day. In addition to sports, the 100th Olympiad
had many hotels, called Paleastras. Gaming was extremely popular with the early
Greeks, as was sumptuous dining and shopping. All manner of entertainment was
there from scantily clad dancers, to full theatrical productions. In fact, there
were even museums of earlier times. The sculptor, Phadias of Athens’
statue of Zeus was a great favorite of past-time museum-goers.
Alexias was quick
to point out that it was he who introduced reserved seating at stadiums as well creating the concept of souvenirs by selling
cushions (with the face of sports stars), mugs, and paper fans. As for VIP’s
Alexias assigned personnel to ensure the care and safety of visiting dignitaries.
He had even created a private hotel in which they would stay. Within a
short period of time in his currrent role, he was hard at work blending the old with the new within the Altis Master Plan.
Having been responsible for the financial success of the
100th Olympiad, Alexias was no stranger to construction budgets, operating projections and pro-formas.
His design idea was to create a stadium whose profile
was lowered by forty feet… he did this by digging a huge hole in the ground
lowering the stadium height by four floors. His then built 2,400 hotel rooms
around the perimeter of the proposed site which also formed the walls of the stadium.
This approach would save a great deal of money and time. Twelve hundred
hotel rooms overlooked the stadium and the activities therein. He suggested a
premium price be charged for these rooms. The exterior facing rooms had exciting
views of the site's other activities.
Modern-day chariots, which he felt were a great deal less
trouble than the 10,000 chariots and horses that he had to house previously, were parked in two convenient parking garages,
each holding 11,000 vehicles. Between the actual stadium and garage at ground
level he proposed to build two shopping boulevards of 200,000 square feet each.
He proposed that one street attend to women's wants and needs and the other to men's.
Due to the site’s
grand scale, a simple Translink system located at mezzanine level transported guests around the entire site. To make
sure everyone got where he or she wanted to go without falling all over one another, Alexias strategically located travelators within the parking structures which delivered stadium fans directly within the stadium rotunda. After events, fans could go home the way the came in, or move easily into the retail
streets to dine or shop. The casino was built contiguous to the stadium and was
equally easy to access from the rotunda.
Alexias’ Master Plan extended beyond the stadium
complex itself. He envisioned a number of innovative uses where one could commercially
exploit a modern-day Altis Forest where today's gods could dwell.
In Alexias’ 1000 days of ‘creating’
he covered every aspect of how a modern-day stadium would function with a variety of synergistic mixed uses. Upon his departure he left behind his thought process in a 55,000 word journal that contained proposals…
and why. This journal is much treasured by the Doultons, as it forms the basis
of what a master-planned, modern-day stadium complex could be with a little imagination… assuming a will, and a way,
were to be provided.