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Orleans optimistic over its new ‘O-rena’

Oct 8, 2002 7:14 AM

   The 9,000 seat Orleans Arena is seven months away from becoming a player on the Las Vegas scene.

   “Nobody knows the vision of Las Vegas like Michael Gaughan” said Steve Stallworth, vice president of the Orleans Arena, future home of minor league hockey’s Las Vegas Wranglers.

   “We will be ready to open May 2003, Cinco de Mayo,” Stallworth told a group of media and Wranglers officials during a luncheon in the bowels of the “O-rena.” “Our strategy is to get fans and guests to come into the casino, restaurants and all of our other amenities.”

   Those amenities include a 700-foot LED wraparound video system, the first of its kind in Las Vegas. The arena will also feature a 2,600-space parking garage, unobstructed sightlines to the stage, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, oversized seatng and spacious rows and in-house concessions.

   “Every seat is 21 inches wide and when you enter this arena, you will come in on granite floors in a beautiful concourse,” Stallworth said. “Not only will we have the right venue for hockey, but we can easily host concerts, equestrian events and private shows.”

   Coast Casinos president Harlan Braaten said that when the announcement of the Arena came a year ago, the intent was to have a pro hockey team as a tenant.

   “Pro hockey will bring a new level of entertainment to the Orleans,” Braaten said. “It will fill a void for Las Vegas patrons, who love hockey. I am really excited abourt seeing our new arena able to host boxing and concerts. Family shows is what we are all about.”

   Tiberti Construction was the general contractor when groundbreaking began last February and the May 2003 opening date is right on schedule, according to Orleans officials.

   “To build such a project is exciting,” said Horst Dziura, vice president of the Orleans. “Now we have to make it pay for itself and leave a little over for us. It’s a challenge, but the enjoyment is overwhelming.”

   The arena, located on the north side of the hotel, is part of an overall $150 million expansion that includes 600 additional hotel rooms and a health club that opened several weeks ago.