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Hands-free, secure and full of bass: How to create the smart home of your dreams

The Seattle Times Oct. 24, 2019 at 2:45 pm

It seems like everyone is doing it. Talking to Alexa, asking Google questions, dimming the lights and turning on the oven with an app.

Yes, smart homes are hot, and for good reason: They can save valuable resources such as energy and money. But is being that plugged-in really all it’s cracked up to be? There are issues of privacy, and of just being overwhelmed by technology.

We talked to some experts and did a little digging of our own in order to pass on some key tips and products to help build the smart home of your dreams — rather than something out of a dystopian nightmare.

If you’re looking for more safety

Because Seattle has one of the highest rates of property theft in the country, you may be looking to beef up security on the home front. Thanks to advances in technology and industry disrupters, there are now an array of options for home security systems, from simple to robust.

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13 Coins Seattle: A Restaurant That Can Scale Up Its Screens Easily

This Ultra HD Over IP system provided by Wipliance provides Seattle dining institution 13 Coins with an easily scalable screen solution.

Oct. 14, 2019-
Originally Featured on TECH DECISIONS

With its building slated for redevelopment last year, 13 Coins — a Seattle dining institution — closed the doors on its flagship South Lake Union location after 50 years of serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For the next chapter in its legacy, the 24-hour restaurant set up shop in a new building on King Street in Pioneer Square, within sight of CenturyLink Field and a short walk to T-Mobile Park.

The new 13 Coins features two levels. Upstairs is the main dining area and bar with an adjoining outdoor patio, while the downstairs “Lower Quarters” features another bar and four private dining areas that can be rented out independently or combined into one large space.

The Tech Decision

For owner Al Moscatel, it was important to preserve the vintage charm of the restaurant’s original location, which hadn’t changed much since opening in 1967. For dining on the first floor, that meant keeping 13 Coins’ signature high-back booths, swiveling captain’s chairs, and open kitchen.

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Integrator Spotlight: Lee Travis, Wipliance

Your business was founded in 2006. What is the origin of your business name? What did you do before were you in custom integration? Talk about how you got interested in doing this work – and as you gained experience, what it was that you felt you were able to offer clients that was unique in the field.

Lee Travis: The name stands for “wireless appliance.” Years before I had the company, I felt that in future we’d have so many more wireless devices. And we’re not in the white goods business, but if you take the word “appliances” and drop off the app and put a “wi” there, that’s how you get the name.

I got into the car audio business first. I attend the Consumer Electronics Shows and at my 33rd CES this year, we won the Integrator of the Year Award. I loved car audio, but that industry began to change, and it was becoming a little more homogenized. OEM was developing better systems and cell phones were getting down into the free range – when we used to pay five grand for a cell phone, and the average cell phone bill was $1,500. As the car audio business waned, we started to do some home systems – people would ask us to do theaters, with those big CRT projectors. Eventually, I made a full move over to home and commercial, adding in other things builders wanted us to do, such as the communications and security wiring. They wanted us to cover all of the low-voltage category.

 

Obot Electric and Obot Energy, appear on your website as corollary businesses for your installation operation. Why did you develop these service offerings? And what are the advantages to being a one-stop shop - providing “end-to-end solutions,” as you say on your web site - for clients, relating to these corollary disciplines?

“Obot” stands for “on budget, on time.” What would happen is, when we’d go to install a home theater for someone, and we’d need power for a projector or for a TV and power for lighting control and shading as well. We would usually sub that work out to electricians, but often, they would prioritize their work over ours. We’d have a Lutron lighting control job set up to do on a Tuesday, and the electrician was supposed to be there and couldn’t show up till Friday. So I wanted to be able to control the whole customer experience, to make sure we could deliver the system [in a timely way] to our clients.

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Fine Tuning Automation

Fast-growing Bellevue firm Wipliance believes in first taking care of its own

Lyn McKay for 425 Business 
May 22, 2019

With Internet of Things technology powering a growing number of devices in buildings, real-time updates from cloud-stored data becoming the daily norm, and remote management now at consumer fingertips, the idea of personalized building automation has taken on a life of its own.

“We used to spend the majority of our time installing high-end audio/visual systems, but now we install everything from climate control to lighting, window treatments, security, and more, into living and work spaces,” said Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance LLC.

Travis launched Wipliance in 2006 and operates the Bellevue headquarters location; a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona; and an electrical-contracting company. In total, his combined workforce is now 30 strong.

Today, the company supports residential installs, as well as notable commercial building projects such as the new SPIRE luxury condominium tower in downtown Seattle. Other commercial customers include restaurants and bars, tenant improvement contractors, and companies looking to automate board rooms or other conference spaces.

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NEXUS event redux: High-tech, high-rise living in downtown Seattle

BY  on 

PICTURED ABOVE: GeekWire’s Brian Westbrook hosted a panel discussion with thought leaders profiling NEXUS in a new generation of high-tech, high-rise living.
Existing and prospective homeowners attend “At the NEXUS of it All Event”; Celebrate the official topping off of an iconic tower

On April 11th, a series of events atop the Peak Lounge in the Kinects Apartment tower transformed this sky-high venue into an informative neighborhood showcase and a celebration for hundreds of current and prospective homeowners at NEXUS.  Presented by Seattle Magazine, the exhibition included The Downtown Seattle Association, LID I-5, NHL Seattle, Waterfront Seattle, the Washington State Convention Center expansion and NEXUS, which stands front and center in the fastest-growing neighborhood on the West Coast.

“Burrard Group hosted an extraordinary event that illuminated how the northern migration of downtown Seattle positions our homebuyers at the nexus of all,” said Matt VanDamm, Vice President of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR). “We certainly share in the excitement for this pivotal development.”

PICTURED ABOVE: NEXUS by Burrard is a 389-unit, 41-story high-rise condominium, which is 93% presold – the remaining 28 homes were recently released for sale.

The events kicked off with a broker luncheon and open house followed by a GeekWire podcast presented by the FutureCast Forum on “High-Tech, High-Rise Living”. Moderator Brian Westbrook hosted panelists including urban living specialist Julie McAvoy of RSIR, development strategist Billy Mainguy of Burrard Group, home automation expert, Lee Travis of Wipliance and real estate economist Brian O’Connor of O’Connor Consulting Group. Among the key findings, downtown Seattle is entering a housing cycle of increased homeownership following a record number of apartments being built, largely fueled by a tech-driven economy. Consumers desire a progressive, in-city lifestyle that is optimized by home automation and a sense of community that is activated by exclusive to building apps and thoughtful amenities that encourage owners and friends to converge and connect. Meanwhile, NEXUS was notably referenced as the archetype of such next generation development and remarkably, it is the only residential opportunity offered for individual homeownership in the burgeoning neighborhood.

 

“We forecast strong job growth and housing demand to continue well into the next decade as Seattle’s tech hub resists any slowdown that may be experienced in the national economic cycle,” said O’Connor. “The challenge however, will be affordability. New developments like NEXUS are experiencing construction hard cost increases of 6-8% per year, which increases the price of supply ahead.”

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Wipliance Named CTA Integrator of the Year for 2019

Bellevue, Wash.-based Wipliance receives 2019 Consumer Technology Association TechHome Division Integrator of the Year Award at CES 2019.

“I have been coming to CES for 33 consecutive years and I was still just as excited to attend the show as I was for the very first time,” said Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance, a Bellevue, Wash.-based custom integration firm as he accepted the Consumer Technology Association’s TechHome Division’s 2018 Integrator of the Year at CES 2019. Travis’ ability to maintain that youthful exuberance for his business and the technology is among the reasons his company was recognized by the CTA.

The CTA Integrator of the Year Award is presented to a custom integration company that has shown proven leadership both inside and outside the industry.

Wipliance is the No. 62 company on the CE Pro 100 with $4.6 million in revenues from 151 custom installs. That equates to $30,464 per install. The company is also one of the most efficient in the industry, producing $230,000 in revenue per employee from its 20 staff persons.

Wipliance offers solutions for audio video and smart automation that are unique to the homeowner and their lifestyle, and easily customizable to add value to the space. The company works with high-end homeowners as well as business owners for retail, restaurants and office spaces.

Based in Bellevue, Wash., Wipliance recently opened a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company is highly engaged in the industry as a member of the CE Pro 100, as well as the Control4 Circle of Excellence for 2018.

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Mark of Excellence Awards Winners Announced at CES 2019

Recognizing the finest achievements in custom installation and the best new custom-installation-targeted products and installations the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in conjunction with CE Pro magazine announced the winners of the 2019 TechHome Mark of Excellence Awards at CES 2019, Las Vegas.

Presented in an evening ceremony at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the Mark of Excellence Awards recognize groundbreaking residential custom installation projects performed by professional integrators, as well as consumer technology products and services that are primarily targeted at the custom installation channel.

The 168 entries were judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Winners of these prestigious awards receive exposure via the websites and print publications from the Consumer Technology Association and CE Pro.

Check out all of the entries here


Manufacturer Awards:

Audio Product of the Year: Amplification:
AudioControl CM4-750, AudioControl

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10 Home Design Trends Making a Statement in Seattle

The next generation of interior design will move you.

 MARC ROUSSO, CEO, JAYMARC HOMES, FUTURECAST FORUM MEMBER | Updated: November 27, 2018
Originally Appeared in Seattle Mag

10453 SE 19th St Bellevue - $3,468,888 (Monte Carlo Plan)

Sponsored by Realogics, Inc.

The tech industry has planted deep roots in the greater Seattle area, and it was only going to be a matter of time before it made its mark on housing. It has been a lot of fun to integrate more innovative technology into our homes, such as “smart” thermostats and remote lighting controls. But, just as transitional design fuses modern materials with more classic architectural design, cutting-edge components are seamlessly integrated within tried-and-true planning to deliver the best of both worlds. After all, who would want to live inside a server room?

We look at technology in terms of how it can relevantly enhance the classic comforts of home. These are some of the trends that we see continuing into the near future – you’ll notice lots of the familiar on a larger, more luxurious scale. Ultimately, we all want to love where we live.

1. Islands: The Bigger the Better

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Top 10 Tech Transformations for a Smarter Home

How modern home design is taking the fiction out of sci-fi.

 CAMERON ALAVI, WIPLIANCE  | Updated: November 27, 2018

The concept of the smart home is no longer reserved for sci-fi flicks and Jetson-esque cartoons, which just a few short years ago may have seemed lifetimes away. Increasingly more homes are becoming connected, intelligent, and changing the way we live our daily lives, moving us closer to the once fictionalized idea of a technologically advanced home. As demand for smarter homes increases, these ten trends are quickly weaving their way into home design across the Puget Sound and beyond:

1. Advanced Home Networking

It seems difficult to imagine living our lives without access to the internet. Much in the same way that people depend on the internet, so do smart homes and the devices in them. Many experts refer to this as the “Internet of Things”, or the network of devices, appliances, and features that we operate with wireless, mobile and voice controls to create a smart home. The most basic prerequisite for a smart home is a solid internet connection and very good in-home Wi-Fi. Sticking a router in your laundry room and hoping for the best simply doesn’t cut it anymore because every device, from surveillance cameras to thermostats, needs to live on the network if it is going to be integrated into the home. The network structure in today’s smart homes typically consists of enterprise class networking equipment including several strategically placed Wireless Access Points (WAPs) to ensure that the whole home is blanketed in solid Wi-Fi coverage.

Image courtesy of Wipliance

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SPIRE Condominiums Sales Center and Full-Scale Model Home Debuts Oct. 27

Unparalleled amenities and resident services to be revealed for Downtown Seattle’s 41-story luxury tower

BY  on 

PICTURED ABOVE: Discover SPIRE – a new architectural icon rising at 600 Wall Street in Belltown, the heart of downtown Seattle.

Individual presales have begun at SPIRE, a 347-unit, 41-story condominium high-rise under construction at 600 Wall St. in the Belltown neighborhood. A new, 5000-sq. ft. sales center has opened at 2218 5th Avenue. Sales representatives will host public tours beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 27 for this much-anticipated presale opportunity. Prospective buyers will experience a full-scale model home, a design center, a 9-foot scale model of the tower, a context model of the neighborhood and immersive virtual-reality tours on a life-sized display screen to help convey the final product offering.

Leading into the weekend, the SPIRE sales team accepted more than 100 first-position reservations along with several second- and third-position commitments on popular floor plans. Reservation activity recorded more than $125 million in potential presales ahead of SPIRE’s official launch this weekend. These reservations are now being converted into sales along with new transactions for prospective homebuyers that visit the sales center.

PICTURED ABOVE: With its grand sense of arrival, the meticulously designed lobby at SPIRE welcomes residents with splendor.

“We are pleased to witness such vigorous interest in SPIRE ahead of our formal sales debut,” says Paul Menzies, CEO of Laconia Development and representative of Seattle Realty One, LLC, the developer of SPIRE. “Clearly, SPIRE is Seattle’s next landmark in the making,” he adds.

In a tribute to its famous neighbor, the Space Needle, SPIRE is a landmark in the making. Tall, slender and extraordinary on every level, the 41-story condominium will boast dramatic views and standout architecture befitting of its front and center perch in the downtown Seattle skyline. With progressive design and technology, SPIRE welcomes prospective homebuyers to secure their new residence today – nearly two years before it’s slated for move-ins.

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Lutron Announces 2018 Excellence Award Winners

Lutron has announced its 2018 Excellence Award Winners and has added two companies to the Lutron Hall of Fame.

CE Pro Editors  • 

Established in 2003, the Lutron Excellence Awards competition “recognizes the world’s best projects that use Lutron light, shade, and temperature controls, Lutron Ivalo fixtures, plus third-party equipment, voice control, and more,” according to the company. 

More than 100 of Lutron’s residential system providers have won a total of 160 Excellence Awards since the competition’s beginnings.

2018 Excellence Award Winners 

The 2018 Excellence Award winners are:

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425 Northwest Idea House

Originally Appeared in 425 Magazine 

Lisa Patterson | Sept. 21. 2017 

Blocks away from an evolving downtown Bellevue and its ever-changing skyline, and steps from Meydenbauer Bay, is a stunning home perched on a hill overlooking Whaler’s Cove. This year’s 425 Northwest Idea House built by JayMarc Homes of Mercer Island and designed by Medici Architects of Bellevue is a 5,690-square-foot masterpiece — every detail meticulously thought out and executed to perfection.

“It turned out beautiful,” said Marc Rousso, president of JayMarc Homes. “It has really nice views, especially at night. But my favorite part about this project was allowing people to showcase their talents — that is the coolest part, that the team could come together and really show what they can do.”

Rousso and his best childhood friend, Jay Mezistrano, have been business partners since college. JayMarc Homes has been building homes on Mercer Island and in Bellevue for seven years and has grown to 33 team members who collectively have about “450 years of experience” in the industry.

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Wipliance, LLC Expands to Scottsdale, AZ

Celebrates 10 Years of Service and a New Location

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Wipliance & RSIR Partner To Host “LOL” – Luxury Outdoor Living – Event At Mercer Island Waterfront Estate

Guests Welcome the Season with Drop Tops, Flip Flops and Pop Rock

Source: RSIR 

On May 19thRealogics Sotheby’s International Realty (“RSIR”), Wipliance and OBOT ElectricFerrari of SeattleDeLille CellarsAnnette Dresser at J. HilburnFerretti YachtsAquaQuip, Greenbaum Home Furnishings and broker duo Mary Norris and Paige Norris Fuijii of Norris + Norris jointly welcomed scores of invited guests to a luxury waterfront estate on Mercer Island for the inaugural “LOL” (Luxury Outdoor Living) Event. The showcase of luxury brands highlighted the enviable lifestyles provided by market leaders in real estate, audio/visual, automobiles, wine, fashion, pools and spas, outdoor furnishings and others to ring in the summer season.

Above (From Left): Mary Norris of RSIR, Lee Travis of Wipliance & OBOT Electric, & Stacy Jones of RSIR.

“The event demonstrated the unparalleled entertaining and living opportunity presented by our Mercerfully Modern listing on Mercer Island,” said Mary Norris, a Senior Global Real Estate Advisor with RSIR. “This is just one of the many memories that will be created by this spectacular lakeside estate – a new owner will be well positioned for many, many more.”

Norris thanks Lee Travis of Wipliance for originating the idea to kick off the summer sales season and inspire residents to either augment their current residence and lifestyle with new ideas or consider a new residence.

Mercerfully Modern is a perfectly executed luxury modern estate sited on 110 feet of Lake Washington shoreline. Exquisite custom details and use of the finest hand selected natural materials, from the spectacular curved glass staircase, to the custom metal handrail that anchors stunning hand-wired walnut floors. Features include a waterside master suite, state-of-the-art Chef’s Kitchen, glass walls of windows that provide natural light, and nano-doors unfolding toward multiple outdoor entertaining-terraces. Aquatic adventures abound at a sandy beach with deep water moorage and a boat & jet ski lift. Gated & Private.

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Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty Hosts First Annual Momentum Real Estate Forum

By RSIR Staff | 

On December 1st, 2015 more than 150 real estate brokers and employees from Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) gathered for the first annual Momentum Real Estate Forum. In addition to passionate addresses by members of the RSIR executive team, the dynamic symposium welcomed third party guest companies including AppleRezoraWiplianceThe Puget Sound Business JournalTravels Through ImagesO’Conner Consulting GroupCaliber Home LoansAdSageTiger Oak Publication and a special keynote presentation by Steve Games, Chairman of the Board for San Diego-based Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty.

The event highlights included:

  • Opening Address by Dean Jones, RSIR President & CEO – Dean described RSIR as a positive disruption in the status-quo of real estate citing examples of industry leading innovations, many of which are exclusive to RSIR. Challenging brokers to “be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” he urged the audience to move beyond the typical approaches in order to differentiate and resist commoditization. RSIR is contributing to a paradigm shift in the landscape no differently than how UBER, Airbnb, Alibaba, Facebook and Apple changed theirs. The presentation concluded with a video by Apple entitled “See Things Differently.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ1SDXbij8Y]

Above: Dean and Stacy Jones Welcome Attendees to the 2016 RSIR Momentum Forum
  • Brand in Motion by Andrea Savage, RSIR Vice President of Marketing – Marketing highlights from 2015 were presented in addition to the significant growth experienced with the website traffic (far greater than the competitive set), blog exposure and numerous accomplishments not limited to campaigns including #NoPlaceLikeOwn and RSIRWaterfront.com. Additionally, Savage presented key strategies for 2016, which again included highly effective and exclusive platforms that only RSIR brokers are able to leverage.
Above: Andrea Savage Shared a Graph of Global Website Rankings, Indicating High Traffic Volume for SIR.com
Above: Andrea Savage Discusses RSIR Marketing and Growth
  • RSIR Agent Panel – Success Stories – Stacy Jones, RSIR Owner and Vice President led a discussion with top agents Becky GrayChristina RobertsCarrie DeBuysEnrico Pozzo and Scott Wasner. Brokers discussed their strategies for building a successful business, from following-through and providing a “one-stop-shop” to communication and implementing RSIR’s unique marketing materials. A consistent theme was the importance of differentiation and exclusivity as RSIR brokers continue to set themselves away from the pack.
Above: Agents Discuss Their Secrets to Success
  • Technology: The Next Generation – A collection of innovative companies presented to RSIR brokers including special guests Josh Hartnett and Cory Hutton from Apple, who presented exciting updates and showcased tips and tricks for using their products. Scott Gustlin, VP of Operations for Rezora, highlighted how successful RSIR newsletters and campaigns have been performing and The Puget Sound Business Journal announced the renewal of RSIR’s exclusive Home of the Day platform, which is driving nearly 6% of the web traffic to this multi-media juggernaut. Also, Lee Travis, Owner of Wipliance, the preferred audio/visual provider to RSIR, presented a collection of ways to add value to listings and announced a new broker rewards program.
Above: Apple Business Leader Josh Hartnett and Business Specialist Cory Hutton Present Exciting Updates Along with User Tips and Tricks
Scott Gustlin, VP of Operations for Rezora, Discusses Staying Ahead of the Client & Email Marketing
Above: Lee Travis of Wipliance Introduces the Broker Rewards Program
  • Operations: 2015 Productivity & Growth – The RSIR Operations team led by Michael X. Ford, Designated Broker and Chris Loeliger, Managing Broker Eastside presented on new updates and plans for the coming year. Highlights included dramatic increases in broker count, sales volumes and market share year-over-year as well as numerous significant sales and referral activity. The growing team consists of Lori Burge, CFO; Lisa Villareal, Transaction Coordinator; Karen Vang, Controller; and Brian Leddo, Commissions Coordinator.
  • Social Media – RSIR Social Media Director Ashley Breunich discussed best practices before engaging a panel of agents with the help of Ian Rosenberg, RSIR’s Online Marketing Strategist. The panel consisted of the following agents who have established a strong social media presence: Brian HopperCassie DaughtreySue EllerVicki Jackson and Aaron Gazes. Each of these brokers offered advice for posting, shared insights on their favorite social media platforms, provided success stories and attended to questions from the audience.
The Social Media Panel Discusses Agent Best Practices for Maintaining an Online Presence
  • Evoker Films: Video is the New Black — Dean Jones and Andrea Savage took the stage once more for a sneak preview of the Evoker Films and to announce the official release of the campaign. A separate screen room was set up, complete with popcorn and libations for the RSIR team to experience the broker profile series. The firm will have a total of 39 films when complete, presenting a new way for potential clients to get to know agents. Meet our brokers >>

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Retail Partnership With Bellevue-based Wipliance To Showcase Cutting-Edge Audio/Visual Technologies

By RSIR Staff | 

February 25, 2014 (Kirkland, WA) – Representatives of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realtyannounced today a retail partnership with Bellevue-based Wipliance to showcase cutting-edge audio/visual technologies within a hybrid real estate showroom, retail art gallery and DeLille Cellarswine bar called Maison DeLille at 15 Lake Street in downtown Kirkland.  The showroom will open on March 1, 2014.

“We are excited to partner with Wipliance and offer this high-profile demonstration of their impressive audio-visual systems within our premier retail showroom,” said Dean Jones, Owner of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “Together we are attracting the connoisseurs of life to experience the best of brands all within one dynamic lifestyle destination.”

Wipliance, a leader in custom commercial and home technology systems throughout the Pacific Northwest, installed more than 30,000 linear feet of cabling, seven large LED TV’s, a massive digital billboard with ticker feed, a comprehensive audio distribution system and state-of-the-art control systems and security.  The overall facility comprises approximately 3,200 sq. ft. and is designed to host larger events and make use of the flexible digital platform.

“This showroom is a tremendous opportunity for Wipliance to demonstrate how technology can be seamlessly integrated with architecture and yet provides a multitude of functionalities,” said Lee Travis, Owner of Wipliance and OBOT Electric, an affiliated full-service electrical contractor.  “We appreciate this retail window in the heart of downtown Kirkland and we look forward to supporting the numerous events and promotions that will take place in this one-of-a-kind venue.”

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