A year ago, I had one of the most exciting evenings of my life. I went to the movies.
Mass COVID-19 closures were the norm at that point, but some businesses had just been given clearance to reopen with new safety measures, theaters being one of them. I donned my favorite mask for the occasion and chose one of the few seats that wasn’t marked with a large X. The room felt so much larger than before, with empty rows separating me from a small handful of other patrons. And as I sat in the familiar darkness, I thought about space.
We were far apart but collectively sharing an experience—because of an intentional use of that space. In this issue of American Builders Quarterly, we chose to spotlight executives who have been thinking about the same thing. They’ve adapted their projects to coronavirus restrictions like everyone else, but with an added layer to the challenge: the areas they tend to manage were literally made for gathering—on massive scales. Think sports stadiums, theme parks, hotels, casinos, ballfields, and concert arenas.
The designers, developers, and directors behind these attractions do their best to pivot and predict. How do they find solutions for places that are both social and distant, so that those locations can withstand the length of the virus? How do they keep their teams healthy and safe? What are the hygienic details most people don’t think about that now must be identified, analyzed, and resolved?
You can find these conversations in the next few pages of this issue. All the while, these executives didn’t lose sight of their other core focus: to design locations that provide new, exciting experiences for guests, especially ones who are itching to be entertained. Our glamorous cover star Kara Siffermann has just unveiled Las Vegas Boulevard’s first casino resort in 11 years, a glimmering masterpiece composed of hotel rooms with downtown views, technologically advanced game rooms, designer boutiques, high-end restaurants, five-star spas, and endless entertainment options. Siffermann ensures that as guests visit safely, the memories they make in Vegas are the ones they will want to take home.
As COVID-19 rates wax and wane, uncertainty lingers and more questions arise. But the builders in this magazine have a new mission in mind—to take what the world feared were endings and turn them into evolutions.
Melaina K. de la Cruz, Managing Editor