Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dick Pacific Construction Co, LTD and the Developers of Pinnacle Las Vegas Form Joint Venture to Complete Condominium-Resort Project in Las Vegas

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DICK PACIFIC CONSTRUCTION CO, LTD a subsidiary of the 85 year old Dick Corporation of Pittsburgh, PA and PINNACLE LAS VEGAS, LLC have entered into a joint-venture agreement to complete development, construction and eventually operate the 1,100 unit, $740 million condominium-resort project known as PINNACLE on 12 acres situated less than two miles from the famed Las Vegas Strip and adjacent to the Orleans Casino/Hotel and Arena.

The idea for the project was originally conceived in 2004 by the Falconi Group of Pittsburgh, owners of the land, and was further developed with the help of several Las Vegas and Pennsylvania real estate developers. Pinnacle will feature two 36-story towers connected by unique “sky bridge” suites. The plans call for nine spacious floor plans - all with balconies, including 31 pool-side bungalows, restaurants, boutiques, a unique hibiscus-shaped pool, cabanas, as wells as a full service spa and fitness center.
Dick will essentially work on behalf of the ownership group as the “Chief Operating Officer” of the project and take responsibility for all day-to-day activities of the Pinnacle. Norman Fornella, EVP of Dick Corporation called this a “rare opportunity to partner with Mr. Falconi, a respected and admired businessman with a long track record of success.”

A representative from the Falconi Group stated, “We could not be more comfortable and pleased to have entered into partnership with Dick Pacific. Although the project is a long way from Pittsburgh and procurement sourced on a global basis, we can still meet face to face with our new partners at Dick, here in Pittsburgh over lunch or dinner. Additionally, they (Dick) are not new to Las Vegas and were in-fact one of the major contractors on The Venetian Casino Resort.”

The Falconi Group, led by Angelo F. Falconi has diverse business holdings in several states ranging from residential/commercial development to automobile dealerships.
Dick Corporation, founded in 1922 is a nationally recognized construction, construction management, design-build, and environmental services firm and ranks as one of the nations top 60 contractors. The company offers a diverse array of services and is supported by offices in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Altamonte Springs, Phoenix, Hawaii, and Guam.
For more information on Dick Pacific, visit or

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What's Happening, Vegas?: Is Now The Time To Buy Las Vegas Real Estate?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Unbloody Streets of Las Vegas

The Unbloody Streets of Las Vegas by Doug French

The temperature has been especially hot this year in Las Vegas. Day after day, by late afternoon thermometers hit 110 degrees or more. For those of us who have been here a while, we may be annoyed, but resign ourselves to dealing with the dry heat, and congratulate ourselves for not having to shovel snow in the winter. For the 200 people per day that move here the heat is shocking: especially for the 35 percent that move in from temperate California.

There is no lonelier day than the day a person moves to Las Vegas in the summer: a glaring sun, oppressive temperature, and a rental truck full of furniture that must be toted to an upstairs apartment from a parking lot a football field away, and no new neighbors offering to help. Las Vegas doesn't start easy for anyone, and for some it gets no better. A few years ago a study found Sin City one of the top five most stressful cities in the United States, with the highest suicide and divorce rates in the study, as well as a great deal of alcohol use.

But people continue to migrate to Las Vegas, immigrants from the economic mismanagement of states both near and far away. Economists over at UNLV, Keith Schwer and Bob Potts, estimate that 50,000 jobs were created in Las Vegas last year. And more jobs are on the way as the LV Strip's latest building boom begins to bear fruit starting this December with the opening of LV Sands' $1.8 billion, 3,025-room Palazzo.

By 2012, 45,000 more hotel rooms will be constructed on the Strip. With the demographic winds at their backs, casino operators aren't worried about filling the rooms with tourists, but finding employees will be a challenge. According to a report authored by Deutsche Bank Securities, the casino industry will need 113,500 more workers to fill the spots created by the new resorts that are now under construction. Unless the city's population growth begins to accelerate, 25,000 of these jobs will go unfilled according to the investment bank report.

By the time MGM Grand's massive $7.4 billion City Center project comes on line in late 2009, competition for employees could be keen, and the gaming giant will have 12,000 spots to fill at the multi-use project. A year later, Boyd Gaming's Echelon Place will come on line and they will be looking for over 10,000 workers. Despite a red-hot economy and prospects for more of the same, to read the financial press and listen to Wall Street pundits the Las Vegas housing market couldn't be colder. But is it?

In many ways the Las Vegas housing market is just simply returning to normal after the irrational exuberance of 2005 when just short of 39,000 new homes and condos were sold and 58,522 resale homes changed hands. Back not so long ago in 2000, with the Venetian not a year old and Steve Wynn buying the Desert Inn property with only an idea in his head, new home sales in Las Vegas were 20,520 and resales totaled 29,515. Through June of this year, 10,395 new homes and 14,556 used homes have been sold.

If this pace continues, just short of 50,000 homes will change hands in 2007, an almost identical amount of sales to the number in year 2000, a year that was considered at the time a strong housing year. Back in 2000 there were 130 builders selling homes in the Las Vegas market, according to Home Builders Research, Inc., but by last year the number was down to 77. And all but one of the top ten builders last year were large publicly traded builders, with the top ten accounting for nearly 56 percent of all new home closings.

Thinking the boom would never end, these public builders bid up the price of land hoping to gain or maintain market share and now, according to Larry Murphy at SalesTraq, there are 572 different competing subdivisions in the market, nearly twice as many as the 295 when the boom was just beginning in 2003. With housing market en fuego in 2005, 60-70 people a week visited each subdivision. Now MetroStudy says only 20 per week are bothering to look for a home. So, instead of the average subdivision selling two to three homes per week, now builders feel fortunate to sell that number in a month. Builders are pulling out all the stops to rid themselves of inventory, giving away thousands in incentives and in some cases lowering prices. With significant drops in the prices of lumber and other materials, combined with a very hungry subcontractor workforce, decent profits can be had selling new homes at $150 per square foot and below.

At the end of June, builders had only 2,164 units in standing inventory, a one-month to six-week supply according to SalesTraq's Larry Murphy. Meanwhile the Multiple Listing Service reached a record 23,642 homes in June, with reportedly 40 percent of those homes sitting vacant. No doubt, speculators bought many of these homes in 2005 for $200 per square foot believing housing prices could never decline. But while housing analysts point at Las Vegas as the poster child for the housing bust because of the number of foreclosure filings, local real estate expert, Marketing Solutions executive vice president Stephen Bottfeld points out that a review of the foreclosure filings reveals that some individual out-of-town investors have as many as 40 homes being foreclosed upon.

Dennis Smith of Home Builders Research pointed out at a seminar earlier this year, that selling homeowners are greedy and won't give away buyer incentives, while builders will move houses any way they can. Besides, most people prefer to live where no one else has "cut their toenails," as one builder has his sales staff remind buyers, if the customers are waffling between his new product and a resale home. With an eye on their declining stock prices the publicly traded builders have all but stopped pulling building permits and started thinning their employee ranks. According to In Business Las Vegas magazine, "Some major builders have eliminated more than 100 jobs or more than 40 percent of their Las Vegas workforce in the last six to nine months."

It's likely that builders in Las Vegas will pull fewer than 20,000 new home permits this year for the second year in a row. No wonder that compared to the fourth quarter of 2005, there were 39 percent fewer framing contractors, 20 percent fewer painting contractors, 19 percent fewer general single-family home construction workers, 14 percent fewer foundation contractors and 10 percent fewer plumbing and heating workers.

Before last year, the last time there were fewer than 20,000 new homes permits pulled during a calendar year in Las Vegas was 1999, when the median new home price was $139,500. This May, the median price was just short of $309,000, only a 4.4 percent decrease from a year ago.

Real estate consultant John Burns believes home prices in Las Vegas are too high and must drop by 33 percent, or about $100,000, before the market returns to normal conditions, given a median family income of $50,465. But Burns shouldn't hold his breath. Hispanic families are solving the affordable housing dilemma by buying homes with one or two other families. And an angry Stephen Bottfeld told his July Crystal Ball crowd last week that there is "no way homes will lose 30 percent in value this year, or next year or the year after. or all three years put together." The residential real estate business may be punk out in the suburbs, but on the Las Vegas Strip it's as hot as the weather. The New Frontier closed its doors forever at midnight on July 15th. El Ad Properties paid Phil Ruffin $33 million per acre or a total of $1.2 billion for the aging property he bought in 1998 for $167 million. The Israeli company intends to spend $5 billion constructing a replica of New York's famed Plaza Hotel on the property. Condo sales are so brisk at MGM Grand's CityCenter the company has assembled 78 acres on the north Strip to do another massive mixed-use project. "Just two years ago we would never have conceived of buying more land on the Strip," company CFO and president Jim Murren told the Las Vegas Sun. But after selling more than a billion dollars worth of condos at CityCenter in just a few months, Murren says, "We can do this all over again."

The Nevada gaming market is rocking, setting a record in May by winning $1.14 billion from gamblers. The majority of that win came from the Las Vegas Strip that has consolidated even more than the homebuilding market. MGM Grand and Harrah's together control three quarters of the hotel rooms on the Strip, and MGM holds an incredible 865 acres on the Strip, with 250 of the acres being undeveloped. But unlike the large homebuilders that wish they had a few less acres, Mr. Murren says, "Anyone whohas ever sold land (on the Strip) has lived to regret it." Strip land "goes up slowly or rapidly, but it doesn't ever go down."According to Bottfeld, "what happens on the Strip gets mirrored in the housing market." He predicts the Las Vegas housing slump that began in April of last year will begin to recover when the Palazzo opens later this year and will be fully healed by August of next year. And to the naysayers on Wall Street and beyond, who say the Las Vegas housing market slump will persist indefinitely, Bottfeld contends another Las Vegas boom is right around the corner in 2009.The old saw repeated often by Las Vegas old timers is that if there are high-rise cranes on the Strip, it's a good time to buy real estate. Dozens of them continue to dot the skyline. Number crunchers stress that each new hotel room creates 2.5 jobs, and that each new hotel/casino job creates another 1.5 jobs off the Strip. The people who will ultimately fill those jobs don't live in Las Vegas yet. When they pull into town in their rental trucks they will need places to live. Baron Rothschild advised that one "should invest when there is blood in the streets." It won't be bloody in Las Vegas much longer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Home Sales, Factory Orders Up in July

August 24, 4:40 pm ET By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer
Positive Commerce Department Reports Suggest Economy Was Stable Before Credit Crunch Worsened
WASHINGTON (AP) -- New-home sales turned up and factory orders soared in July, suggesting the economy was on stable footing before a credit crunch took a turn for the worse.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales of new homes rose 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 870,000 units. The increase came after a 4 percent drop in June.

Another report from the department showed that orders placed with factories for big-ticket goods jumped 5.9 percent in July, the most in 10 months.
The latest batch of economic news was better than analysts had expected. They were forecasting home sales to fall and calling for a much smaller, 1 percent gain in factory orders.
On Wall Street, the reports cheered investors who have been consumed by worry in recent weeks about the country's financial health amid spreading credit troubles. The Dow Jones industrials vaulted 142.99 points to close at 13,378.87.
The housing report showing the July sales boost comes as credit standards have been tightening on home mortgages. Credit problems took a turn for the worse in August, making it even harder for some buyers to get financing. That means home sales in the coming months will likely show renewed weakness, economists said.
"Sales in August will face significant headwinds from further tightening in credit conditions, reduced availability of mortgage credit as many lenders shuttered their doors and upward pressure on mortgage rates, especially for non-conforming jumbo loans" of more than $417,000, predicted Brian Bethune, economist at Global Insight.
By region, sales in the West shot up 22.4 percent in July and increased 0.6 percent in the South. Sales, however, tumbled 24.3 percent in the Northeast and were down 0.9 percent in the Midwest.
The improvement in overall sales didn't change the big picture of the housing market, which has been suffering through a deep slump for more than a year. Sales are down 10.2 percent from last year, and the weakness is expected drag on into next year.
To lure buyers, some builders are offering incentives including help with closing costs or lining up financing, and working with lenders to lower interest rates on loans, said Bernard Markstein, senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders. Some builders also are throwing in free upgrades to sweeten deals for buyers.
Home prices were mixed. The median price of a new home was $239,500 in July, up 0.6 percent from last year. The median price is the point where half sold for more and half sold for less. The average home price, however, dropped to $300,800 in July, down 3.4 percent from same month last year.
In the manufacturing report, gains were widespread, indicating that capital spending -- a key ingredient of a healthy economy -- had gained momentum. Orders increased for machinery, automobiles, metal products, airplanes and communications equipment. That blunted a drop in demand for computers, as well as electrical equipment and appliances.
A proxy for future business investment also was encouraging: Orders for non-defense capital spending excluding airplanes rose 2.2 percent in July, compared with a dip of 0.1 percent in June.
"The recent squeeze on business credit could damp investment plans in the months ahead. That said, the data will help allay fears that business spending was slowing even before credit got tighter," said Sal Guatieri, economist at BMO Capital Markets Economics.
Fears that the painful housing slump and credit crunch could hurt the economy have gripped Wall Street investors in recent weeks, causing stocks to swing wildly.
Credit is the economy's life blood. If it becomes too hard to get, spending and investment by people and businesses can stall, short-circuiting the economic growth.
"The downside risks to growth have increased appreciably," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues concluded on Aug. 17. It was a much more sober assessment than they had offered just 10 days earlier when they met to examine economic conditions and interest rates. Against this backdrop, the central bank sliced the rate it charges banks for loans, a narrowly tailored move aimed at propping up sagging financial markets.
If problems persist, the Fed could opt for more aggressive action: reducing an important interest rate, called the federal funds rate, on or before Sept. 18, the Fed's next regularly scheduled meeting. The Fed hasn't cut this rate in four years. It is the Fed's main tool for influencing overall economic activity.
The funds rate, the interest banks charge each other on overnight loans, has stayed at 5.25 percent for more than a year. A rate cut would bring lower interest rates for millions of people and businesses.
New-home sales and durable goods reports:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Persian Gulf Group Investing $5 Billion With MGM

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- MGM Mirage is pursuing a long-term strategic partnership with the investment holding company Dubai World, including a joint venture for CityCenter.
The deal involves a roughly $5 billion investment from the Persian Gulf holding company, according to MGM officials. That includes $2.7 billion for the sprawling CityCenter hotel project in Las Vegas and up to $2.4 billion in purchases of MGM Mirage common stock.
The deal will give Dubai World a minority stake in MGM and will also give it a 50 percent equity in CityCenter, with MGM retaining the rest. MGM also has the opportunity to receive an additional $100 million from Dubai if it completes the project on time and on budget.

MGM will remain CityCenter's developer and will be paid an unspecified management fee by the joint venture to operate the development's casino, retail space and condo-hotel tower. CityCenter site on 76 acres on the Las Vegas Strip. It is slated for completion by 2009.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Town Homes Starting At 159,900

U.S. Foreclosures Rise Sharply in July

APU.S. Foreclosures Rise Sharply in JulyTuesday August 21, 8:19 am ET By Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer

U.S. Foreclosures Rise Sharply in July With Nev., Ga. and Mich. Accounting for Highest Rates
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Foreclosure filings rose 9 percent from June to July and surged 93 percent over the same period last year, with Nevada, Georgia and Michigan accounting for the highest foreclosure rates nationwide, a research firm said Tuesday.

The filings include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. The figures are the latest measure of the ailing housing market, which has seen defaults and foreclosures soar as financially strapped borrowers have failed to make payments or find buyers.
In all, 179,599 foreclosure filings were reported during July, up from 92,845 in the year-ago month, according to Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc.
A total of 164,644 foreclosure filings were reported in June.
The national foreclosure rate in July was one filing for every 693 households, the firm said.
"While 43 states experienced year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity, just five states -- California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Georgia -- accounted for more than half of the nation's total foreclosure filings," said RealtyTrac Chief Executive James J. Saccacio.
Nevada posted the highest foreclosure rate: one filing for every 199 households, or more than three times the national average. It reported 5,116 filings during the month, an increase of 8 percent from June.
Georgia's foreclosure rate was more than twice the national average, with one filing for every 299 households. The state reported 12,602 foreclosure filings, up 75 percent from June.
Michigan reported 13,979 filings in July, a 39 percent spike from June.
California, Florida, and Ohio were among the states with the highest number of foreclosure filings in July, the firm said.
California cities continued to dominate top metropolitan foreclosure rates.
The state reported 39,013 foreclosure filings last month, the most by any single state, but the number of filings rose less than 1 percent from June's total.
The state's foreclosure rate was one filing for every 333 households, RealtyTrac said.
Florida's foreclosure filings fell 9 percent between June and July to 19,179. The July figure represents a 78 percent jump from a year ago.
RealtyTrac did not say if a single property received more than one notice. The company did not break out the exact property count.
In recent months, the mortgage industry has been battered by rising defaults and foreclosures, primarily driven by borrowers with subprime loans and adjustable rate mortgages.
Lagging home sales and flat or decreasing home prices have made it more difficult for homeowners who fall behind on payments to sell their homes and clear the debt, spurring the rise in foreclosure activity.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Great Selection of Las Vegas Homes For Sale

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Foreclosures & REO Properties For Sale!!!

3 desperate cities lead U.S. foreclosure list

August 15, 2007

WASHINGTON - A central California agricultural town, the automobile capital of the world and a down-on-its-luck gambling hot spot had the nation's highest rates of foreclosure filings for the first half of 2007, according to real estate data released yesterday.

Stockton, Calif., Detroit and Las Vegas - three areas with vastly different economies and demographic trends - have all been hit hard by the nation's growing foreclosure crisis, which is ravaging both major urban areas and middle America.

Averaging one foreclosure filing for every 27 households during the first six months of 2007, Stockton had the highest filing rate among the 100 largest metro areas of the United States, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm.

Located in the heart of California's famous Central Valley, where tomatoes, almonds, apricots, grapes and cotton are grown, Stockton and the surrounding area have become a respite for Bay Area and Southern California residents seeking cheaper housing.

In the Stockton metro area of San Joaquin County, foreclosure filings were made on 4,239 properties - more than double the number of the previous six months and more than three times that in the first six months of 2006, RealtyTrac reported.

Placing second with a rate of one filing for every 29 households was Detroit, where job losses in the auto industry have wreaked havoc on the local economy and housing market.

Las Vegas had the third-highest rate, with one foreclosure filing for every 31 households. A glut of new homes and condominiums and a rash of speculative buyers walking away from properties continued to drive down home values, despite the area's record population growth.

The nation's foreclosure crisis is being driven by homebuyers with shaky credit who took out subprime loans. Many of these borrowers are now unable to make the higher mortgage payments required after the rates on their adjustable-rate loans reset.

The ripple effect has caused several mortgage companies to fail, others to stop providing subprime loans and many more to tighten lending standards on all loans.

The percentage of subprime, adjustable-rate mortgages in foreclosure rose to 3.23 percent in the first quarter of 2007.

Rounding out the areas with the top foreclosure filing rates are Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; Denver; Miami; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Memphis, Tenn. Cleveland and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., tied for 10th place.

Monday, August 06, 2007

How Bad Are Interest Rates? Ask Jim Cramer...

On a better notion, Don't ask Jim Cramer how bad interest rates are, you will definately get an ear full.

Yo,Cramer: Dude...get a grip..come to Las Vegas & relax. -Steve

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cosmopolitan Resort Rising On Vegas Strip

Cosmopolitan Resort Rising On Vegas Strip

By Tony Illia
August 13, 2007
Rocky Mountain Construction

New resort will bring urban high-rise design and sophistication to the Las Vegas Strip

Just at a time when the Las Vegas real estate industry expressed the need to have more vertical and urbanized approaches to architecture on the Strip, Ian Bruce Eichner, CEO of 3700 Associates LLC, owner and developer of the Cosmopolitan, was also setting his sights on Las Vegas for his next real estate endeavor. Eichner has already made his footprint in the high-rise real estate market with projects including the Manhattan Club in New York City and the Continuum development in Miami's South Beach district.

"The challenge for the Cosmopolitan project was to find a prime location at the center of the Strip where I could create a mixed-use, urban, high-rise property," notes Eichner. "I wanted to merge the concept of a luxury condo-hotel with an equally spectacular full-service hotel, retail, gaming, and meeting space development. Additionally, I wanted to bring in the Las Vegas business model that has been trending toward non-gaming attractions and facilities."

To make Eichner's "Manhattanized" vision for Las Vegas a reality, 3700 Associates LLC joined forces with Miami-based Arquitectonica as design architect and Las Vegas-based Friedmutter Group as executive architect on the project. Grand Hyatt will make its grand entrance to the Las Vegas Strip along with Eichner; the global brand was chosen by 3700 Associates LLC to manage meetings and conventions at the Cosmopolitan.

The two 53-story glass towers, East and West, that will comprise the property, will fit snugly right up to the property line of the 8.5-acre site and soar 600 feet high between the Bellagio and MGM Mirage's future CityCenter urban complex.

"The complex's stunning glass-enclosed atrium directly on the Strip will be an attraction in itself," notes Eichner.

A Different Perspective
As a result of the structure's limited property space, Eichner opted to look below grade in order to gain more space for his project. He adopted a subterranean parking garage concept that is widely used in the more urbanized cities in the United States where buildings are commonly right on top of one another.

Most of the parking garages for the hotels and resorts in Las Vegas are built on a foundation above ground because of the high water table. The Cosmopolitan's underground parking garage consists of five levels and is similar in design, but deeper, than the Palazzo Resort's subterranean parking garage under construction near the Venetian on the north end of the Strip.

"To accommodate the 85-foot-deep below-grade parking structure, concrete slurry walls needed to be built 110 feet deep into the ground," says Steve DeWees, project executive with Perini Building Co., general contractor for the project. While construction for the Cosmopolitan started in October 2005, DeWees and his team started building the slurry walls in early 2006.

"To build the 30-inch-thick and 24-foot-wide slurry wall panel sections, we drilled holes with a hydro-mill and then placed 12-inch round tremie pipes into the holes with a funnel at the top. Ready-mix trucks delivered the concrete via the funnel, through the tremie pipe and down into the ground," says DeWees. "Delivering the concrete via the tremie system pipe versus through only the hydro-mill-dug hole, which was filled with groundwater, kept the concrete intact. This method also prevented the concrete from bouncing off the rebar, which causes the aggregates to separate."

DeWees and his team also installed a permanent dewatering system beneath the resort and casino.

"The dewatering system is the first of its kind in Las Vegas and was necessary because the water table is only 16 feet below ground level," says DeWees. "The system will pump out up to 100,000 gallons of water a day for the life of the complex. The dewatering system is constructed of sump pumps, gravel and different fabrics."

Once the slurry walls were complete and the dewatering system was in place in July 2006, an amazing 850,000 cubic yards of soil was excavated by large backhoes and other excavators for the subterranean parking garage.

"As we excavated deeper, the site resembled a gigantic bathtub and the concrete slurry walls were exposed," notes DeWees. "We installed 3,000 tiebacks 85 feet deep through the slurry wall panels and into the adjacent soil which support the concrete and prevent the walls from caving in."

The tiebacks are a temporary support system for the concrete slurry walls until the structural steel is completed for the garage.

"Deep underground parking like that used in the Cosmopolitan project will become an increasingly familiar sight in Las Vegas as new resorts take up as much developable land as possible on the Strip," says DeWees.

It's All in the Mix
After excavation was complete, Perini called in Las Vegas-based Quinn Concrete Pumping to pour and place concrete for the various footings, mat foundations and concrete slabs for the Cosmopolitan.

"We've worked with Perini before and were pleased to work with them again on such a monumental project," notes Steve Heimark, operations manager for Quinn. "We knew our Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom pumps and Telebelt® would be huge assets due to the need for multiple boom lengths and the shear volume of the mat pour."

According to DeWees, there has been one main concrete mix and strength placed by Quinn Concrete Pumping's Putzmeister equipment since they started working on the project in December 2006.

"The 6,000-psi concrete mix being placed by Quinn's boom pumps is for the continuous footings, various mat and concrete slabs, and the West and East tower mat foundations," comments DeWees. "The mix is made up of 57-percent coarse aggregate and 43-percent fine aggregate which includes water, cement and fly ash."

An earthen ramp was built for the boom pumps and ready-mix trucks for easy access down into the bathtub-like hole.

Quinn's first three pours on the Cosmopolitan project site were for the 8-foot-thick subterranean parking garage and West tower foundations in December 2006 and January 2007.

A 42-meter, 52Z-meter and three 58-meter boom pumps and a truck-mounted telescopic belt conveyor worked together to place a total of 26,320 cubic yards of concrete 85 feet below grade in the first three pours.

"Each of the concrete mat pours started at midnight and was completed the following afternoon," notes DeWees.

"Our 42X-meter and two 58-meter pumps stretched from the ground level down into the hole to place the concrete. At the same time, our 52Z-meter and 58-meter boom pumps and TB 130 were down in the hole placing concrete," says Heimark. "It was a true joint effort by the six different machines. We even had our 42X-meter boom pump at ground level delivering concrete into the large 19.4-cubic-foot-capacity hopper of our 52Z-meter pump down in the hole where it placed the concrete."

Following the pours for the subterranean parking garage and West tower foundations, Quinn placed 10,140 cubic yards of concrete with their boom pumps for the East tower foundation in February and March, 2007. Additionally, Quinn handled the placement of other concrete footings and foundations for the project in early 2007.

"To date, Quinn Concrete Pumping has placed about 68,000 cubic yards of concrete at the Cosmopolitan and will be on the project site through the end of 2008," comments DeWees.

Things are Looking Up
Perini Building Co. started placing 42,000 tons of structural steel for the five-level underground parking structure and the first five floors above ground in April. Project officials held a traditional Japanese blessing and sake pouring ceremony to mark the erection of the project's first piece of structural steel. On April 9, roughly 100 project officials were on hand as a 300-ton crawler crane lifted a 50-foot-tall, 60,000-pound box girder into place. The Cosmopolitan will use a total of 41,000 tons of structural steel.

Blessing the ground and pouring sake over the first piece of vertical steel are important Japanese traditions. (Cosmopolitan's steel fabricator is Tokyo-based JFE Engineering Corp.) It's considered bad luck to forego such rituals. Project officials additionally placed a pinch of salt at each of the four corners of the steel beam to purify the soil. And engineering drawings in both English and Japanese were signed by team executives and placed into a time capsule at the base of the beam to commemorate the event.

"The structural steel will support the massive 350,110 cubic yards of concrete that will be placed for the remaining 50 floors of the complex," notes DeWees. "We have also just started building the concrete elevator core for the two towers."

The crystal-shaped, 53-story dual high-rises will house a combined 3,000 condo-hotel rooms, rising up from a five-level podium. The steel-framed, glass low-rise will contain a 75,000-square-foot casino, a 150,000-square-foot convention center, a 50,000-square-foot spa, and a 1,800-seat theater. There will also be 300,000 square feet worth of brand-name retail shops and restaurants accessible from the Strip.