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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2002

Businessman ready to lasso the moon

By Tom Gorman
Los Angeles Times

LAS VEGAS — A Canadian businessman wants to build the world's largest hotel: 10,000 rooms within a 250-acre casino and entertainment complex fashioned after a lunar landscape. He calls his $5 billion proposal, Moon, "the next giant step for mankind."

Michael R. Henderson yesterday unveiled a scale model of Moon, a proposed hotel and resort that would simulate a lunar experience for visitors. He is proposing a 250-acre, 10,000-room site. Henderson, who describes himself as independently wealthy, doesn't particularly care where the hotel is built, as long as it is located somewhere on Earth.

Bloomberg News Service

Never mind that Michael Henderson has no investors, no site. What Henderson does have are $1 million in plans and models and a rented hotel ballroom where he floated his proposal yesterday to see if anyone wants to buy into it.

He doesn't care where in the world Moon rises. Here, or Europe, or maybe Asia. He's not even sure what he'll personally get out of it. "I just want to see it built," he said of his towering, glass-sided hotel.

He sees crater-shaped swimming pools and a lunar-lander lounge, moon buggy rides, a deep pool for weightlessness experiences, a casino inside a moon-like globe and a space shuttle to move folks around.

"You have to think out of the box," said Henderson, 40, who describes himself as independently wealthy after launching a string of lasik eye surgery centers before being fired as CEO by his medical staff.

His marketing strategy is raising eyebrows.

"Normally, it's better to take an idea out to the highest-probability investors first, not to just show it to the whole world," said Alan X. Reay, president of the Atlas Hospitality Group, a hotel consulting firm. "If I had a lot of money to invest, I wouldn't want to read about this at the same time as everyone else.

"Maybe he's hoping to find some guy out there with more money than he knows what to do with," Reay said.

Henderson said his display model and other promotional materials fill a 40-foot-long truck, and are too unwieldy to ship across the oceans on spec.

"There's a very shrewd and very small group of people out there" who might be interested in Moon, Henderson said. "They'll form an opinion of whether they like this or not, and we'll live or die on that opinion. That's our gamble."