Sunday, July 4, 2010

This Week's LVW Col: Thomas & Smack

Here's my second Sun Valley-related column, this one looking at Parry Thomas' views on where Vegas is today and what it needs to do. Enjoy. -sf

Thomas & Smack
Parry Thomas is still outspoken at 89,
and says Vegas needs a train to LA now


One story in the news caught my eye as I flew to Sun Valley, Idaho, a few weeks ago to interview the man who made Vegas possible. Some Clark County commissioners were kvetching over whether to allow the use of some redevelopment money to help finance a new arena on the property formerly occupied by Wet N Wild, an idea they eventually nixed.

One intriguing reason: They feared that the competition with the Thomas & Mack would harm UNLV’s cash flow. That made some sense to me, but a few hours later, when I arrived at my destination, I decided to ask someone who ought to know. I mean, after all, Parry Thomas is the “Thomas” in the university landmark, and that first arena—and the university itself, really—was built largely because he and Jerry Mack acquired the land for it.

“Oh, that’s bull,” the 89-year-old Thomas replied. “There will have to be an adjustment, but I’m all for the new arena. It’s great for business and anything that’s great for business is great for the university. We add a big sports center and we add all kinds of activities. You get major sports, you’ll get some of the biggest gamblers in the world down there. There’s certainly room for two venues.”

Before you write this off as the mutterings of an out-of-touch oldster, keep in mind the speaker’s track record. In the 1960s, bankers Thomas and Mack loaned money to casinos when nobody else would. Because they secured the capital, the “good old days” happened.

You know what else Thomas thinks would held Vegas recover

Read the REST at LasVegasWeekly.Com

1 comments: said...

I hate to rubber-stamp anything, but I have ZERO refutes on this one.

Thomas and Mack Center will always get events. (BTW... I have yet to see a RECENT study of how/where the money from those events goes. We only hear that Higher Education has no money).

I've already suggested (I think in this forum) that MGM Mirge Resorts Whatever may/will have to theme up (IE, soften) CityCenter. Perry is on the money. Even perhaps a tram to get people to head up to it.

I'm also a HUGE proponent of quick, regular rail service between L.A. and Las Vegas. Not just for people from L.A. coming here, but Las Vegas locals and International visitors to Las Vegas wanting to get back and forth. At a reasonable price in comfort. Toss Union Pacific some cash to double-track needed areas to make this happen.

Think about it:

Airport parking, then security, then you get on a cramped plane, then you deal with getting off the plane at an airport and needing to get to your final destination.

Or... a train (no TSA and probably free parking if they do the station at The Rio). You can arrive 15 minutes before the train leaves (kind of like air travel used to be). You get to L.A. Union Station with connections to Metrolink and Amtrak's Surfliners.

Put aside how GREEN this is (I don't recycle and make no apologies for it).

Think about how EASY it is.

Add in the fact that you can sit in a large (much larger than airline travel) seat and use the internet (probably for free) and stretch out. Of for those who like to party (none of that group on a train from L.A. to Vegas... LOL) and sit in a bar car watching sports in HD... Maybe a game you bet on before you left to head to L.A.

The rail thing might actually work!