$1.6B NV Sphere Extends Sched, Begins Structure


A new construction schedule for Las Vegas’ MSG Sphere at The Venetian sets up the next 15 months for heavy lifting and structural work on the site.

The $1.66 billion project is now slated to be complete by 2023, instead of the end of the 2021 fiscal year as originally planned.

Some Project Background

The project broke ground in September 2018, as a collaboration between the Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands Corp., along with designs from Populous.

The technology behind the 350-foot-tall, 500-feet-in-diameter sphere was originally unveiled in February 2018.

Officials at the time touted “beamformed” technology for the sound transmission—enabled by thousands of tiny speakers embedded into the venue walls—that will give the same sound clarity for people in the back as the people in the front.

The sphere’s interior will have a digital display plane of a 170,000 square feet, and its exterior counterpart, wrapped in an open-air trellis structure, will hold 580,000 square feet of programmable surface.

Inside, the display will be the largest and highest resolution LED display plane in the world, according to officials.

Gov. Brian Sandoval touted some other numbers at the groundbreaking, including the estimated 3,500 construction jobs and 4,400 permanent jobs at the site. Once the sphere is complete, it is expected to bring $730 million in annual economic impact and $48 million in estimated tax revenue. MSG selected AECOM as the general contractor in June 2019.

In February of this year, the world’s fourth-largest crawler crane arrived onsite from Belgium. The crane, dubbed the DEMAG CC-8800, can extend 580 feet high weighs 869 tons. The crane can also rotate 360 degrees.

After being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, it reportedly took 120 tractor-trailers to deliver the crane, and then 18 days to assemble it.

On top of the crane’s weight, 850 tons of counterweight have been added for stability. Though the crane can reportedly lift up to 1,760 tons, the heaviest lift on the MSG project will be 182 tons, consisting of a center compression ring for the domed roof.

What Now

The DEMAG will now be put to work, according to the new schedule, which includes three main tasks: superstructure concrete work, structural steel and the building of the steel-domed roof.

The concrete work will include decks at Level 5, and work on the wall behind the stage, which will include two steel tub girders (each weighing 120 tons) at Level 6.5. These girders will support the domed roof, which will be filled with concrete.

Steel beams will be installed at Levels 6, 7 and 8 as well as exterior ring beams at Level 6.5. Once everything is in place, a 182-ton compression ring will be placed for the incoming 13,000-ton steel-domed roof.

Up to 300 workers are expected to be onsite at a time, depending on the work being done.

While work on the Sphere was slowed in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials at MSG have noted that they expect the entertainment industry to “come back roaring.”


Tagged categories: concrete; Cranes; Good Technical Practice; Mixed-Use Facility; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Structural steel

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