Exclusive: Circa’s “MoDot” Mystery Solved
We’ve been chronicling the construction of downtown’s newest casino-resort, Circa Las Vegas, since day one. Before day one, actually.
Here’s Circa before day one (Feb. 2018).
Circa’s come a long way since then!
During one of our photo shoots, we noticed something a little off on the Circa hotel tower.
We have a smidge of OCD, so an oddly-spaced panel caught our eye.
We immediately reached out to Circa’s owner, Derek Stevens, to get some inside scoop.
When we asked about the panel, Stevens’ response was, “Are you serious?”
Of course we’re serious. We are a Las Vegas blog.
After some urging, Stevens spilled the beans about this curious feature on the west side of Circa’s hotel tower.
“So, this is an engineering and construction element that gets put up during the construction process, during pandemics. It’s called a MoDot.”
Our very thoughtful response was, “Whuh?”
“We had no ability to have any vertical transportation. There was no way for the designers and our operational team to go up and down the tower while the construction was going on, so the MoDot was out there.”
Stevens mentioned the hotel’s “vertical transportation” challenges during an interview on our podcast. At the height of social distancing guidelines, no more than two people could be on a man lift at once, which made it virtually impossible for crews of 400 people to get into the tower.
This resulted in Circa having a split opening date. The first five floors (casino, sportsbook, restaurants and pool) open Oct. 28, 2020. The hotel opens Dec. 28, 2020. Read more.
Fun fact: Circa will be the first adults-only casino resort in Las Vegas history.
But back to the MoDot.
Stevens continued, “The last time the MoDot was used was during the Spanish flu time period.”
Stevens explained, “When we’re over in the laydown yard, and we’re looking, and we’re like, ‘When’s the electrical going to hit on this floor or on that floor?’ You can’t tell what floor you’re on, so, it’s a vertical communication element that tells us ‘It’s two floors above the MoDot, it’s three floors below the MoDot.’ The MoDot gives you a reference.”
“It helped because none of us could get up there. Normally, we’d have meetings up and down the tower, but because of the vertical transportation problems, we never could,” Stevens added.
So, now that it’s practical purpose has expired, does the MoDot stick around?
“The intent was always that the MoDot would go away,” said Stevens. “But since we’ve put the hotel rooms for sale, I’ve had so many questions asking about the rooms. Remember, this is a sunset suite. It faces north, west and south. It’s an unbelievable suite. That’s actually the most-requested room, the room with the MoDot.”
At which point we realized we were being duped. Pranked. Snookered. Punked.
Oh, like you weren’t onboard for a minute.
So, what’s the real story?
Stevens reluctantly spilled the real tea: “There’s a great engineer. Probably one of the most brilliant engineers. He’s the guy that did all the glasswork, the curtain wall work, he developed all the acoustical specs for all our glass. Because, you know, we got the thickest glass to have the quietest rooms.”
Marketing and a great story, all wrapped into one? Now, you know why we like Derek Stevens so much.
“Yes, there was a screw-up,” Stevens finally admitted. “One of the panels went up backwards. Yes, there’s a dot on the west side. And the engineer, one of the smartest guys I know, his name is Mo.”
Mo Pierce, to be exact.
The plan is to fix the errant panel prior to Circa opening. But not before we give the MoDot a little Internet immortality.
So, now you Mo.
Update (10/30/20): Despite our lobbying, the MoDot was “fixed” on Oct. 30, 2020. It was fun while it lasted!