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Las Vegas Wranglers to build new arena on Plaza Hotel roof

Booted from Orleans Arena by Boyd Gaming, the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) are building a 3,500-seat arena on the roof of the downtown Las Vegas Plaza hotel.

The 45,000-square-foot arena will cost $4 million and feature a rink covered by a fabric shell, per the terms of a five-year lease between the Wranglers and Tamares Group, owners of the hotel. Interestingly, the roof once featured a parking ramp, meaning it can accommodate the weight of an arena, fans and the obligatory Zamboni.

The arena won’t be built at the top of the Plaza Hotel tower; rather, it will be built on top of a multistory building to the south of the tower, right off the Fremont Street Experience. Currently this space is used for recreational purposes, such as tennis courts and a pool. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

[Wranglers president] Billy Johnson recalled eying the downtown casino’s roof from the Plaza’s south tower in December and thinking, “This could be funky. It’s a word that I’ve stuck with ever since.”…

The Wrangler’s structure will be insulated, with the ice rink expected to open for league play in November 2014, Johnson said. He said the structure will take five months to assemble, and won’t be frozen during summer months. He said the ECHL season starts in October, but he envisions the team starting its campaign on the road, giving more time to finalize the venue…

Johnson said he’s looking at the new venue as a opportunity to launch a start-up business model for the 11-year-old club. He will be able to design the structure from scratch to fit the quirky promotions for which the Wranglers are known, and to accommodate more midnight games.

 The Wranglers draw some 4,600 fans a game now. With less capacity, we’re guessing there will be some price increases for Wranglers ducats. But the money will probably be worth seeing at a game at what could be one of the most unique venues in pro hockey.

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