Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MGM City Center Grand Opening

Finally, after years of construction and financial turbulence, the $8.5 billion dollar MGM City Center is making its grand debut on the Las Vegas Strip on 67 acres between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts. Las Vegas residents are hopeful that an influx of tourists to the latest mega attraction and over 12,000 more jobs generated by the project will infuse new life into the Las Vegas real estate market and Las Vegas condo sales.

This week MGM Mirage celebrated the openings of several key elements of its long awaited urban lifestyle mixed use development. The Vdara Hotel and Spa was the first to open on December 1st with a gala that was co-hosted by Vanity Fair and attended by celebrity guests Orlando Bloom and Rosario Dawson. Vdara features 1,495 condo hotel suites, an 18,000 square foot two-level spa and salon, a world class fitness facility, and over 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

Next to open on December 3rd was Crystals, the City Center's 500,000 square foot retail and entertainment complex. Crystals shopping mall features high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Prada, Christian Dior, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Mikimoto and Ermenegildo Zegna, as well as five gourmet dining restaurants. “Originally, when we put together a portfolio of all the stores, we realized this is a niche that the market is missing — a selection of retailers under one canopy that are extremely high end, and that’s what we went after,” Crystals Vice President and General Manager Farid Matraki said. Matraki also added that it was a priority to capture brands not already in the market.

Then on December 4th the latest Mandarin Oriental with 392 guest rooms, 227 private luxury condominium residences, a 27,000-square-foot spa and 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The condominiums in this most recent edition of the internationally acclaimed Mandarin Oriental Hotels are already 93% sold out, with price tags starting at over $1M for a one bedroom residence.

And on December 16th the center piece of the City Center, the massive 4,004 room (including 568 suites) Aria Hotel and Casino, will debut with its own grand opening celebrations. I will be attending a special VIP party that night and expect to have lots to report later next week on all the amenities which include: 150,000 square feet of gaming, three primary pools with 50 cabanas and one European-style pool, 16 restaurants and 10 bars and lounges, including a nightclub, an 80,000 square foot two level spa and salon with 62 individual spa treatment rooms and 55 salon stations, and an 1,800 seat theater that includes the celebration of the timeless musical legacy of Elvis Presley from Cirque du Soleil.

If the project takes off as expected, by spring new employees of the MGM City Center should feel confident enough in their jobs to fuel a fresh spate of home buying, just in time to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit and the affordable homes for sale in Las Vegas. With the number of Las Vegas foreclosures at an all time low, we may even see price increases during the first half of 2010.