Las Vegas Sun

October 1, 2014

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Thrill ride firm went bankrupt in December

Arrow Dynamics Inc., the firm hired by the Stratosphere to design and build a 500-foot thrill ride, will have only a limited role in the project if the ride is approved by the city, as the company operates under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Curtis Nielson, Arrow Dynamics' controller, said the company's filing for bankruptcy in December won't affect its plans for the Stratosphere ride.

But if the thrill ride is approved by the City Council in the coming months, Arrow Dynamics of Clearfield, Utah, will only design the ride, not build it. The company no longer builds its rides as part of its reorganization, Nielson said. Previously Arrow was the only coaster manufacturer to both design and build its rides.

"We do plan on completing design of that ride if and when it is approved," Nielson said. "Chapter 11 does allow us to go forward on activities we are pursuing."

Residents of a neighborhood near the Stratosphere plan to fight the proposed ride before the Planning Commission on Thursday in the latest round of an ongoing dispute.

The Stratosphere's attorney, John Moran Jr., has asked for a two-week delay on the Planning Commission's decision, but the commissioners must vote on whether to approve the request, said Cynthia Sell, a spokeswoman for the planning department.

The original proposal -- which called for a 700-foot ride -- was shot down by the commission in August and was later withdrawn by the Stratosphere when the council in November seemed poised to vote against it.

The new proposal calls for a ride that would drop riders 510 feet and cross Las Vegas Boulevard on its way to a steel tower fronting Paradise Road, but the tower's proposed height has been reduced from 416 feet to 325 feet.

The design's new dimensions would reduce the speed of the attraction from 120 mph to 93 mph.

Stratosphere officials had no comment on Arrow Dynamic's financial situation, but residents said the bankruptcy news raises additional questions about whether the project will be compatible with the neighborhood.

"I think it certainly raises a lot of questions," said Ben Contine, president of the West Circle Neighborhood Association. "All along we were told that one of the reasons this ride was a good idea was because it was being put forward by such a great company, but now we hear that company is bankrupt."

According to published reports, Arrow Dynamic lost money on the revolutionary "X" roller coaster it designed for Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California.

Arrow misjudged the cost of building the "X" coaster, lost millions on the project, and was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, company president Fred Bolingbroke told the Associated Press in January.

In its Chapter 11 filing in December, Arrow stated that it owes more than $2.2 million to its 20 largest unsecured creditors. Under a Chapter 11 reorganization, a company is given the opportunity to restructure its debt while it continues operating.

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