Stratosphere Las Vegas
|Address||2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109|
|Opening date||April 30, 1996|
|Number of rooms||2,427|
|Total gaming space||80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)|
|Permanent shows||Frankie Moreno; Pin Up|
|Owner||American Casino & Entertainment Properties|
|Previous names||Vegas World|
|Renovated in||2001 (2nd 1000 room tower)|
The property's signature attraction is the 1,149 ft (350.2 m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States, and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. It is the tallest building west of the Mississippi River and also the tallest structure in Las Vegas and in the State of Nevada. The hotel is a separate building with 24 stories, 2,427 rooms and an 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) casino. The Stratosphere is owned and operated by American Casino & Entertainment Properties.
While the traditional definition of the Strip excludes the Stratosphere, it is often included in travel guides as a Strip attraction. Using this alternate definition, the Stratosphere is the northernmost of the major Strip resorts, and is the only Strip hotel actually located within the City of Las Vegas.
In the late 1980s, the Stratosphere was conceived by Bob Stupak as an addition to his Vegas World casino. He initially wanted to create a tower resembling the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but the narrow footprint of the available property would not permit such a broad base. Searching for options, he contacted an engineering firm in Texas whose expertise was in designing radio transmission towers. They produced a series of possible configurations based on computer 'stretch-outs' of their standard skeletal tower designs. When Stupak showed these to CEO Lou Papais of Ad Art, Inc., Stockton, CA, he and his Executive Art Director, Chuck Barnard, agreed the designs were unsatisfactory and Barnard produced the concept for the 1149 ft. tower. Ad Art design associate, Jack Dubois, then created a giant color rendering of the tower which Stupak used to secure financial backing for construction. Architect Ned Baldwin, creator of the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was brought in and assembled a team of local engineers and architects to flesh out the design and move the project to completion. At the conception of the project, one of the planned rides was a giant ape that would carry riders up and down on one of the tower's columns.
The original design envisioned the Stratosphere exceeding the height of the CN Tower (1,815 ft (553 m)) to become the tallest freestanding structure in the world at that time. However, due to the FAA's concerns about possible interference with nearby McCarran International Airport, and any possible flights that come through Las Vegas, the Tower's proposed height shrank multiple times, bringing it to its current height of 1,149 ft (350 m).
On August 29, 1993, the Tower caught fire while still under construction. No one was injured, but the fire forced repairs and rebuilding that led to numerous delays in the construction of the Tower.
In 1995, Grand Casinos was brought on as an equity partner for the still privately funded project under construction. While construction was still progressing, the Stratosphere Corporation was formed as a public company with shares being offered to the public.
The Stratosphere opened on April 30, 1996. Shortly after opening, the Stratosphere Corporation was forced to file bankruptcy. This caused construction on the second tower to stop, with only a few stories partially built, and it allowed Carl Icahn to gain control through one of his companies by buying a majority of the outstanding bonds.
A major addition was completed in June 2001 for $1 billion that included finishing the 1000-room second hotel tower.
In the early 2000s, the company attempted to get approval for a roller coaster that would run from several hundred feet up the tower and, in the last proposal, across Las Vegas Boulevard. Part of that last proposal included an entry monument on the ride over Las Vegas Boulevard welcoming people to the City of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas City Council did not approve the project due to objections from the neighbors over possible noise from the enclosed cars on the proposed ride.
In January 2010, American Casino & Entertainment Properties announced a new thrill ride for the top of the tower: SkyJump, a controlled-descent, bungee jumping–like ride that will allow riders to plummet 855 feet (261 m) attached to a high-speed descent wire. It opened on April 20, 2010.
Radio stations KOAS 105.7 (FM) and KVGS 107.9 (FM) have on-channel FM boosters broadcasting from an antenna at the top of the tower's structure. Licensed as KOAS-FM1 and KVGS-FM1, they are the only radio stations with transmitters at the tower. However, the signals being transmitted from this structure are relatively low-power and only cover the immediate Las Vegas area on a "fill in" or "booster" basis. Both of these stations have their main transmitter sites located elsewhere, and those transmitter sites are what give these stations more widespread regional coverage.
Beginning in 2010, the Stratosphere renovated several areas of the property. As part of a $20 million renovation plan, improvements were made to many hotel rooms, the casino and the main entrance area. Improvements and upgrades have also been made in the Top of The World Restaurant and Level 107 lounge.    
Attractions and entertainment
- Big Shot at 1,081 ft (329 m) is the highest thrill ride in the world.
- Insanity, opened in 2005, at 900 ft (270 m) is the second highest thrill ride in the world; it dangles riders over the edge of the tower and then spins in a circular pattern at approximately forty miles per hour. In a 2005 incident, riders were left dangling several hundred feet above the Las Vegas Strip for nearly an hour and a half when Insanity shut down. The ride did not malfunction, but was programmed to cease operation if a fault or problem is detected by the ride's control system.
- SkyJump Las Vegas, a controlled-descent, Bungee-jumping-like ride that will allow riders to plummet 855 ft (261 m) attached to a high-speed descent wire. SkyJump opened on April 20, 2010.
- X-Scream at 866 ft (264 m) is the third highest thrill ride in the world.
- The High Roller at 909 ft (277 m) was the second highest ride in the world and the highest roller coaster. It was closed on December 30, 2005, and dismantled to make space for a new attraction.
Stratosphere Tower Shops
The Tower Shops is a mall on the second level that connects the casino to the entrance of the tower.
The casino has featured a number of performers, including bands and dancers. Frankie Moreno Live at Stratosphere had its final performance on December 20, 2014. Moreno and his 10-piece band began performing in the Stratosphere Theater on November 9, 2011 and achieved nearly 600 shows during his three-year tenure at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower.
Playboy Playmate Claire Sinclair, signed for a new show in 2013, and has re-signed for 2015, on January 9, 2014 . David Perrico with the band Pop Evolution, signed in 2013 for a monthly show.
- Top Of The World
- McCall's Heartland Grill
- Fellini's Ristorante
- Roxy's Diner
- The Buffet
- Level 8 Pool Cafe
- Tower Pizzeria
- Level 107 Lounge
Some of the casino games include slot machines and video poker. The Stratosphere has inherited some unusual variations on casino games from its predecessor. The 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) casino includes 50 table games, 1,500 slot and video poker machines, a poker room, and a race and sports book.
In popular culture
A version of the tower is seen in the 2014 racing game The Crew (video game), where it is renamed The Comet. It is also widely believed to be an inspiration for the fictional Lucky 38 casino in the 2011 role-playing game Fallout: New Vegas.
- "- Big Shot Stratosphere Tower Rides". Las Vegas Amusement Parks. 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- "Stratosphere Tower". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- Form 10-K (Report). American Casino & Entertainment Properties. March 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Facts About the Stratosphere Tower, USA Today.
- Bob Stupak, builder of Stratosphere and Vegas World, dies at 67 by Ed Koch, Mary Manning, Las Vegas Sun, September 25, 2009.
- Tower Fire Rained Debris', Elizabeth Holland and Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Sun, August 30, 1993.
- The Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino To Add World’s Highest “Skyjump” To Their Collection Of Thrills
- 'Teen and cousin suffer night of insanity', Las Vegas Review-Journal, Keith Rogers, April 21, 2005
- Official Las Vegas tourism site
- Turk http://www.10best.com/destinations/nevada/las-vegas/restaurants/gluten-free-baked-goods/
- Quezada http://govegas.about.com/od/dining/ss/2011-best-restaurants-las-vegas_11.htm
- Smith, John L. (1997). No Limit: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas' Stratosphere Tower. Las Vegas: Huntington Press. ISBN 0-929712-18-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stratosphere Las Vegas.|
- Official website
- Las Vegas Leisure Guide page on the Stratosphere, with construction details
- Stratosphere Tower at Structurae
- Satellite shot
- Stratosphere Las Vegas at The Las Vegas Review-Journal