Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Experience of the Future?

Thanks to a local story in the Las Vegas Sun and another in an online business journal, there's a ton of scuttlebutt right now about plans for the rebirth of Star Trek: The Experience—or not. The initial license is signed, as the Sun article notes, but everything we're hearing in Trekland is that the exact timeline, phasing and concept are still being worked out. The Sun quotes local developer and entrepreneur Rohit Joshi, who has worked under his new CBS/Paramount license to secure the museum collection and anything salvageable from the rides and decore for a new Experience at Neonopolis, the dining/entertainment complex he fronts downtown at the "Fremont Experience." The local buzz for helping renew this area of Vegas with the right formula of attractions is growing as well.

But as much as everyone would love a concrete presence by movie opening in May, that just doesn't seem do-able in just three months. What's more likely is some kind of a limited presence three months later for Creation's annual Vegas convention Aug. 6-9, which itself will be in a bit of new territory as everyone figures out the new landscape for Star Trek and the Vegas connection. Just the reality of time means major longterm—and new—aspects at ST:TE will have to wait until 2010, at the most. On the bright side, Joshi tells me the current U.S. economic downtown is leaving he and his group undaunted, having no affect on plans to move forward.

Meanwhile, for those unable to hit Vegas in winter as I did on a quick trip this week, check out the peek at top. Neonopolis is a three-story cube with a large corner breezeway access to an open-air interior court and outdoor access above it; it already has some restaurants and an 11-screen movie theatre, but there's still a chunk of space all ready to occupy—all of which would get a heavy external remodel in the new spirit of things, of course. Below, you see the proximity of the Neonopolis corner (at right) to the "Fremont Experience" curved canopy (at left) over old downtown Vegas: the waving cowboy icon sign and older original casino-hotels and shops are all further left.

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