Research and innovation in Southern Nevada took a major step forward last month with the opening of the first building at the UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park in Las Vegas.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and a host of federal, state, and local officials joined leadership from Gardner Company, UNLV, and Caesars Entertainment to formally mark the completion of a building that will serve as a catalyst to unite business, stimulate research, and advance economic development efforts in Southern Nevada, according to press materials. 

“The economic and academic benefits of the research park are strong,” said Governor Sisolak. “Black Fire Innovation will create opportunities for collaboration between industry and academia that simply aren’t possible on many college campuses today.”

The four-story, 111,000-square-foot innovation building is the first project completed by Gardner Company as part of a master-planned development envisioned by UNLV, the UNLV Research Foundation, and Gardner for the tech park.

“Gardner Company is immensely proud to commemorate the completion of Building One in the UNLV Tech Park,” said Dan Stewart, partner and vice president of development at Gardner Company. “A campus of this magnitude will foster collaboration and innovation across businesses, UNLV students, innovators and entrepreneurs and will greatly help shape the research and innovation landscape here in Las Vegas and beyond.”

The centerpiece of the debut building is Black Fire Innovation, which brings UNLV and Caesars Entertainment together in one space to advance current trends in hospitality and gaming technology. Black Fire is a technology hub where new gaming and hospitality concepts will be created and tested in a 43,000-square-foot innovation space that includes elements of mock hotel rooms, a casino floor and sportsbook, an e-sports studio, and virtual reality facilities.

“Black Fire Innovation, and the research park more broadly, exemplify the positive impact that can occur when the university and business community come together with a common goal,” said Zachary Miles, UNLV associate vice president for economic development and executive director of the UNLV Research Foundation. 

Through partnerships like Black Fire Innovation, the tech park serves as a proving ground for new ideas that will expand Southern Nevada’s leadership role in hospitality and gaming. It’s also attracting the world’s leading technology companies, who want to have a presence in the region and partner with industry leaders from Caesars Entertainment and UNLV.

“Collaborating in partnership with UNLV, one of the nation’s top gaming research institutions, is the perfect recipe for success,” said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio. “Black Fire Innovation is unprecedented, bringing together top researchers and industry experts in a unique and dynamic environment that enables emerging student talent, technology partners and the community to work together.”

Black Fire Innovation sponsors include: Nutanix, LG, Aruba/ HPE, Interblock, Panasonic, Peerless-AV, Respawn, Allied Communications, Intel, Palo Alto Networks, Toto, Zoom, Breadwear, Losant, Minervaworks, and DreamlandXR.