A giant replica of the Starship Enterprise would have drawn Trekkies from all over the world to Las Vegas, but unfortunately, the concept never became a reality.
Gary Goddard owns Goddard Entertainment and has made some of the world’s greatest attractions with his team. He put in a bid to build the mecca back in 1992 as part of an effort bring more tourism to sin city. The project started to move along but got the axe after Stanley Jaffe, then CEO of Paramount, had a change of heart. Jaffe formally rejected the iconic project by saying:
“You know, this is a major project. You’re going to put a full-scale ENTERPRISE up in the heart of Las Vegas. And on one hand that sounds exciting. But on another hand, it might not be a great idea for us – for Paramount.”
“In the movie business, when we produce a big movie and it’s a flop – we take some bad press for a few weeks or a few months, but then it goes away. The next movie comes out and everyone forgets. But THIS – this is different. If this doesn’t work – if this is not a success – it’s there, forever….”
Many thought the combination of sci-fi geeks and close proximity to prostitutes was a sure winner but the “Freemont Street Experience,” a five block pedestrian mall and concert venue, won out in the end.
Goddard explained that he planned for people to eat on the ship while enjoying a show, tour the building, and possibly take a ride on a “high-speed travelator that would whisk guests from deck to deck.”
He attributes Jaffe’s inability to understand the impact of the landmark to its rejection and seems relieved that he can finally share his story with the public.
Instead of launching the larger project, Goddard and his team created Star Trek: The Experience, a themed attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas.
Perhaps Jaffe was right because “The Experience” has not attracted enough tourism. It opened in January 1998, closed in September 2008, and was scheduled to reopen in the Neonopolis Mall on May 8, 2009 in time for the premiere of the Star Trek film. It was then pushed back to 2010, and then in 2011 it was announced that they had lost the license.