The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod
The Stratosphere is a hotel and casino located in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. It features a 1,149-foot (350.2-meter) observation tower, the tallest in the United States. It is also the second-tallest observation tower in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. The top of the tower is encircled by a pod with a spinning restaurant, lounges, and observation decks. The tower’s apex also contains several thrill attractions. The hotel and casino facilities are located at the base of the tower, with an exhibition hall and shopping mall also available. Despite the fact that Clark County does not acknowledge it as such, the resort is sometimes referred to as a Strip property.
The property is located near the former Las Vegas World Theme Park, which was founded by Bob Stupak in 1979 and closed in 2005. A hotel and casino called Vegas World had previously occupied a portion of the site. In January 1997, Stupak revealed plans for a huge neon sign for Vegas World to be erected on adjacent property. The concept became an observation tower with a rooftop restaurant, which was followed by the construction of the Stratosphere Tower in February 1992. The Stratosphere Tower began construction in August 1992, following a fire that destroyed half of it. Following this, Stupak had trouble raising cash to finish the tower. Stupak collaborated with Lyle Berman, owner of Grand Casinos, to complete the project.
In 1994, Stupak wanted to increase the height of the tower to 1,825 feet (556 meters) in order to obtain the title of world’s tallest structure. While a 1,649 foot (533 m) tall structure would have been acceptable to the city of Chicago and the Federal Aviation Administration, Stupak pushed for a height increase. The city ultimately rejected it, but allowed Stupak to go as high as 1,149 feet (350 m). The Stratosphere Tower opened on April 1, 1996, and was the world’s tallest observation tower. On January 15, 2002 (the site’s 10th anniversary), it was renamed to the Stratosphere Tower after its owner changed hands a second time.
The Stratosphere was completed on April 30, 1996 at a cost of $550 million. A hotel tower and portions of the shopping mall were unfinished at the time of its opening. The area surrounding the resort is known as Naked City because it has been plagued by crime for decades.
The property suffered from financial difficulties during its first year, owing to a variety of reasons including its location off the Strip and other hotels. Berman also believed that the tower’s marketing had been sufficient. The unfinished facilities were another reason for the low income.