CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dave Pray's modest office on Capitol Street is crammed full of blueprints and construction photos, as you might expect for the builder-turned-project manager.
Look closer and you'll see the thickest sheaf of blueprints bears the legend Brooklyn Bowl, the project he's devoted himself to for the last year.
Pray, through his company PrayWorks, is serving as the owners representative on the entertainment venue, part of a $550 million development called The Linq that is scheduled to open next spring.
And despite its name, this Brooklyn Bowl will be located in the middle of the Las Vegas strip, across from Caesars Palace.
Like most things in Sin City, The Linq is over the top, mind-boggling (see caesars.com/the linq). Its star attraction is a giant wheel (don't call it a Ferris wheel) named the High Roller. It's designed to be the world's largest, at 520 in diameter, 550 feet tall.
Instead of sitting in seats, up to 20 passengers will ride in each of the 28 bubble-like cabins, where they can down a drink or two during a half-hour single revolution.
The High Roller is located a long city block from Las Vegas Boulevard at the end of a pedestrian mall between the venerable Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and The Quad (formerly the Imperial Palace), both owned by Caesars Entertainment.
In their efforts to lure younger visitors in the 20-46 age group, Caesars Entertainment will also build 200,000 square feet of leasable space on both sides of the walkway -- bars and restaurants, plus shops and entertainment venues. They estimate more than 20 million visitors already pass by each year.
For the largest space, Caesars landed Brooklyn Bowl, which has gained a solid reputation in less than four years in its home in, yes, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Founders Peter Shapiro and Charley Ryan (not that
Charlie Ryan) built Brooklyn Bowl in a crumbling 120-year-old ironworks factory.
It might seem like an odd mix -- a live music stage, dance floor, bars, fine food ... and 16 bowling lanes. But it works, mainly because of the details, Pray said. Shapiro and Ryan made sure the sound was great so musicians would love to play there.
Now they're hoping to repeat that success. That's where Pray comes in. It turns out he and Ryan were high school buddies at the prestigious Lawrenceville Academy in New Jersey, but went their separate ways after 1970. "We've kept in touch ever since," he said.
Ryan traded precious metals in the commodities exchange before he met the younger Shapiro and joined him in the nightclub business.
Pray moved to Charleston and launched a successful career as a home and commercial builder. He sold his self-named construction businesses in 2005. At PrayWorks, he focuses on project management, usually from the owner's side, working with lawyers, architects, engineers, banks and contractors.
When Las Vegas suitors (at least three, reportedly) started courting Brooklyn Bowl, Ryan called Pray. Ryan introduced him to Jim Woods, CEO at the Bowls, the parent company.
"He said we want to a deal with Klai Juba," the production architects for The Linq. "So I hired a lawyer who worked with their lawyers.
"They had to hire lighting engineers, acoustic engineers. They all work with Klai Juba, but I selected them. In terms of construction, I was on my own with that. I found people who were appropriate."
Brooklyn Bowl hopes to duplicate its success in New York, but on a larger scale, Pray said.