Date: 25th August, 2020
Location: 4915 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89119-3229, USA

In Facebook posts and a report on the Vital Vegas website, the latest progress towards building the new home of the Pinball Hall of Fame (PHoF) in Las Vegas can be seen.

The 1.76-acre site at 4915 S. Las Vegas Boulevard was purchased by the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club in 2018 for a total price of $4.567m including fees and taxes. Tim Arnold detailed how and why the Club bought the plot in our coverage of his Pinball Expo seminar here:

Proposals for the design of a parking lot and a new building for the PHoF were agreed by the Clark County Zoning Commission in May 2019.

Tim Arnold at the Zoning Commission meeting
Tim Arnold at the Zoning Commission meeting

As part of that hearing, an illustration of the proposed look for the museum was shown to the Commission by the architect. This shows a large vertical sign adjacent to S. Las Vegas Boulevard – a vast improvement over the somewhat makeshift banner hanging above the current building – and huge lettering covering the street-facing side of the building.

The proposed look for the new Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The proposed look for the new Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
(picture: George M. Rogers Architect)

The vertical sign is set back from the road as there is an extended right-of-way along S. Las Vegas Boulevard which can be used in the event that the city decides to widen the road. This possibility has slightly reduced the number of parking spaces in the design too. There is also an established large advertising sign in the parking lot but that was a known factor when the lot was purchased.

With permission for the building, parking spaces, sign and road access granted along with agreement from nearby Las Vegas airport, construction began and is moving ahead rapidly despite recent COVID-19 delays.

The four walls are raised to form the shell of the building
The four walls are raised to form the shell of the building
(picture: PHoF)

With strong Nevada sunlight streaming through the windows of previous locations causing both irritation to players and pushing up the internal temperature, it’s no surprise that this custom-built home of the PHoF allows in minimal daylight.

Only one wall includes windows along its length
Only the back wall includes windows along its length
(picture: PHoF)

The new building will feature 28,000 square feet of floor space – around three times the size of the current PHoF on Tropicana Avenue. That should accommodate around 700 pinballs compared to the 250-or-so currently available to play. Tim has more than enough machines in the barn behind his property to fill the new building. These will be joined by an increased number of classic video games for the authentic retro-arcade feel.

Tim surveys the work so far
Tim surveys the work so far
(picture: PHoF)

Surprisingly, the new PHoF is scheduled to open in January 2021 – a mere five months from the date of this article. With the current location still operating and owned outright by the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club, when the operation moves to the Strip the previous home will be made available to rent. This will generate income to help pay for the cost of the new home.

The front and right side of the new building
The front and right side of the new building
(picture: PHoF)

Even after paying around $10m in total to purchase the plot and build its new home, Tim reckons the non-profit PHoF’s debt-to-equity ratio will be under 20%. The priority will be to pay that debt off, after which charitable donations can resume. However, with so many more machines and a larger operation to run, Tim thinks it may no longer be possible to run purely on volunteer effort and it may become necessary to start employing staff for the first time.

You can read more about the progress being made and the plans for the new building in an article on the Vital Vegas website, and we’ll bring you more news about the PHoF’s move and reopening plans right here at Pinball News.

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