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July 28, 2014

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Massive plans for Krave: June 15 opening, Caesars partnership, Tony Hsieh investment … and ‘Boy Hunter’

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Mona Shield Payne

A rug representing the gay and lesbian community is on display during the construction of a dance club inside Krave Massive, the world’s largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men’s Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013.

Krave Massive Under Construction

A rug representing the gay and lesbian community is on display during the construction of a dance club inside Krave Massive, the world's largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men's Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013. Launch slideshow »
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Construction is underway for the main entrance and central bar of Krave Massive, the world's largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men's Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Electricians are at work during the construction of Krave Massive, the world's largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men's Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Removed theater wall insulation is ready for recovering with repurposed movie screens for the sound insulation inside the dance clubs at Krave Massive, the world's largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men's Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Electricians are at work during the construction of Krave Massive, the world's largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men's Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

Construction is underway for the grand opening of Krave Massive, the world's largest gay club, featuring a Top 40 Club, Hip Hop Club, Country Saloon, Men's Revue Show and more in the reconstructed theater space at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, March 7, 2013. An outdoor swimming pool is planned on the third level extending from the elevator to the third-level walkway.

Care for a glimpse into the sort of frivolity planned for Krave Massive?

Consider this:

One of the amenities envisioned for the nightclub is a paid club crawler known as a Boy Hunter. This person is outfitted with an iPad and an earpiece and collects information from VIPs as to what sort of nightlife companion that person happens to be seeking. “Guy wearing a bowler and monocle, carrying a cane, smoking a pipe …” That sort of thing.

Furnished with this request, the Boy Hunter performs as a kind of real-life Match.com search engine, forging a love connection the new-fashioned way.

That’s the plan, at least, for Krave Massive, 84,000 square feet of fabulousness under construction at Neonopolis. The long-awaited nightspot catering to a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clientele has announced its official grand opening: June 15. Also folded into the announcement of that grand opening — 6 1/2 months later than its original targeted opening date — is a unique cross-promotion partnership between Krave and famed Caesars Entertainment Strip resorts Flamingo and Caesars Palace.

Boasting to be the world’s largest gay nightclub, Krave Massive is the latest incarnation of the nightclub that previously operated at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and, more recently, the Rio.

The new nightspot is vast and impressively ambitious in its design and business plan. Krave Massive takes up large chunks of the second and third levels of Neonopolis, where the old Galaxy Theaters are being gutted.

The construction and deconstruction of that space is making way for a quintet of themed dance rooms, three bars, a martini lounge, a VIP lounge, a comedy club booking comics who are gay or gay-friendly, a performing arts theater, gift shop, a lesbians-only dance club, and a new film haven called Guest House Theater.

In the new Krave world of describing its nightlife offerings and amenities in such platitudes as “first,” “biggest” and “only,” Guest House Films is billed as the country’s only LGBT theater, operated by the distribution company Guest House Films, which refers to its operation as “a totally gay motion picture company."

The claim that Krave Massive will be the largest gay nightspot in the world is to be verified by a representative flying in from Guinness World Records on or around the time of the opening party. The current record-holder is Privilege Ibiza, located near San Rafael on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

During a hard-hat tour of the ongoing construction of Krave Massive last week, club operator Kelly Murphy spoke energetically of the partnership his company had forged with Caesars Entertainment.

“Sixty-eight percent of gay men choose their hotel after they choose what event they are here to visit,” he said. “This ties the hotel with the event. We want those visitors to stay there, but play here.”

Under this business blueprint, prospective Krave Massive club-goers can book rooms in a program cheekily titled, The Massive Package. Aside from lending itself to a conveniently innuendo-laced title, The Massive Package offers guests room accommodations at Flamingo and Caesars Palace, a pair of spa and health-club passes, admission for two to Krave, and — in a rare move for any Caesars Entertainment property — shuttle service off the property, to a nightspot not owned by Caesars, and back.

In a statement, Caesars Entertainment Director of LGBT Marketing Richard Brower explained why it made sense to haul hotel guests to the Fremont Street and the new Neonopolis nightclub: “Krave has become a ‘must attend’ attraction for members of the LGBT community, both for locals and those visiting Las Vegas. Our commitment to our LGBT employees, guests and neighbors is strong, including being the only casino company with a 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for six years running. We are delighted to partner with Krave to continue bring exemplary LGBT entertainment experiences to Las Vegas.”

Murphy hopes to entice 5,000-6,000 customers per week at the new club, so a partnership with Caesars Entertainment is not only sensible, but also vital. Also announced is a minority investment in the club’s parent company Phantom Entertainment (which also operates Drink & Drag Lounge at Neonopolis, which caters to an LGBT crowd, and Boys Social Club, scheduled to open this month on Paradise Road just south of Hard Rock Hotel in and across the street from the gay-themed Piranha), by a group led by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project.

That investment of an interest involving Hsieh is likely to help Murphy quell concerns about the financial viability of Krave Massive, which was called into question (amid many other damning allegations) in a lengthy story published last month in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

That story cited concerns from city officials about the fast-tracked approval of financial incentives to a spur the business’s move downtown, even though Krave Entertainment was reportedly saddled with myriad financial issues and is opening a lot later than anticipated at a complex, Neonopolis, that has been not kept pace with the outcropping of business surrounding it in the Fremont East district.

Murphy addressed the project’s financial concerns in an e-mail Wednesday. He said he suffered cash-flow problems as his fundraising efforts started about two months behind schedule. He said his was because the law firm assigned to provide proper documentation to begin raising capital was eight weeks late in finalizing that paperwork.

The project was originally to be completed in stages, not all at once, but Murphy’s staff went beyond the scope of the original phase-in plan and amassed costs that were higher than the initial timeline. Also, concerns over the structural integrity of the proposed dance club were raised in November, a potentially expensive issue that might have cost up to $1 million in renovations. It turned out that it was not a concern at all, but did further push back the opening of the club.

Murphy added, “Our investment from Tony Hsieh’s group funds the project with sufficient cash to insure that we are viable, strong and have the support to execute our business plan successfully. He is a visionary and he understands the business, specifically our plan, and its importance to Las Vegas as a city, and especially downtown.”

It would take even the most ardent club-goer several trips to Krave Massive to take in everything that is under construction today. The individual dance clubs are themed for hip-hop, Latin, top-40 and country genres. Areas will be set off for a 3D effect, with club-goers issued 3D glasses in the same way they would be provided with the specs before a 3D movie. Feature fills in an 80-seat theater, and a show featuring drag queens performing as such artists as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Adele is in production. The working title for that is “Extravaganza.” The comedy club is comically named “Tickled Pink.”

And if one should choose to entertain rather than be entertained, a live webcast is being assembled at the club. It’s called “Club Confessional,” and club-goers are invited to sit in front of a static camera and recount the night’s activities. The person we’d like to hear from? The Boy Hunter, of course.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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