Louie's Bar & Grill is based on an actual building in the Universal Studios, FL theme park. Although it took about two months or so to complete, majority of the work was done in three weeks. I worked on it five hours a day for five days each week. I think that it's safe to say that to get to the final render was less than 100 hours of work. Honestly, after three weeks I was not happy with the final look. William Vaughan from the DAVE School had mentioned that it would be great to put it into the "Art of LightWave" book. So the final touches were worked on here and there as I was modeling my Terminator 1 HK tank. Basically, the process of making Louie's is broken down into four stages: modeling, texturing, lighting, and post-processing.
Modeling was pretty interesting. It was completed through a mixture of real life measurements, blueprints and photographs. Basically, the lower portions of the building were real life measurements and the upper portions were mostly modeled using the blueprints. I used the photographs for visual reference since blueprints tend to not be 100% accurate. I would have climbed up on the roof to get the actual measurements, but, I don't think that would have gone over too well with the Universal security folks. If you are new to modeling things that are realistic, I would start with something small so that you can get used to measuring things and keeping your notes organized. It can get very messy and you will find yourself going back to whatever you were measuring because you missed the length of something simple