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Is CityCenter The Last Mega Resort?

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 20th July 2010 2:23pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 10



Every week or so, I give thanks that the fearless Dr. Dave Schwartz exists. While I'm sleeping, playing cards or goofing around with computer code, Dr. Dave is in the casino wild, hacking through the underbrush to cull facts and figures and weaving oft forgotten history into the global casino present.

Yeah. Dr. Dave knocked it out of the park again in CityCenter feature published today in Casino Design 2010 entitled The Last and Greatest Mega Resort?

In it, Dr. Dave recalls the near term history of CityCenter from announcement to opening day. For those looking to pencil out the pre-MGM backstory, including the truly fascinating tale of how former Mirage Resorts CFO covertly assembled the land at the request of his boss Steve Wynn, you can enjoy that here.

For true CityCenter or Vegas history freaks, both of these articles are essential reading.

But the question remains... is CityCenter the last Megaresort? Will we see another boom time in our lifetime wherein visitation and room rates will justify the construction of yet another one of these palaces? And what about the palaces half completed?

Tagged: citycenter   mgm resorts   


Comments & Discussion:

Cool post, but there's a typo in the first sentence. It should be, "Every week or two," not "Every week or to."

Just sayin.

yes. a typo. i type better when I'm drunk, which I'm not yet. actually, it should say "every week or so"

I'd like to discuss this as a roundtable sometime. There are inevitable views, but ultimately, from the educational background of architecture and urban planning, I don't consider CityCenter a MR. It's something different, an experiment to say the least. Aria, a MR on its own, is just a part of something that grew into a model city. EPCOT comes to mind when I think of things like this, but on a much different scale and idea.

Thanks for the kind words, but I'm far from fearless.

As far as the big question, I still don't know if this is the end for the mega-resorts. A lot of smart people made casinos a lot of money by moving away from luxury and towards the middle market in the mid-1980s, and if you'd have pitched Bellagio in 1983 you'd have been laughed out of the room. Fifteen years later, though, it was another story.

I dont think so. At the present there doesnt seem to be a player out there who has the nads to try to develop something as vast as City Center but that could change. If you consider the land where the New Frontier was and the barren shell of Echelon just screams out for someone to take it all over and fill the space then it could happen. You also have the land between the Stratosphere and Freemont that could be turned into something. It may not happen for a while but it oculd happen.

This is a great article, but I'm confused by the opening paragraph, Dr. Dave.

You say that CC had its roots in the 2004 acquisition of Mandalay Resorts by MGM. But didn't the property that is now CityCenter belong to Mirage Resorts, NOT Mandalay? Didn't MGM acquire the Boardwalk and the accompanying acreage, along with the Bellagio, in 2000?

Now, I realize MGM didn't own the entirety of the Monte Carlo until buying out Mandalay in 2004 -- but that seems like a small portion of the overall picture.

Mirage had much of the land, but didn't have all of it. The merger was when the company started considering a major development on the site, though Wynn had bought the Boardwalk much earlier with the intention of eventually re-developing it.

Very interesting article, and confirmed the corporate group-think that I suspected must have lead to City Center:

"People hate themed resorts in Las Vegas!"
"What people want is to vacation in buildings that look like the office buildings they work in!"
"So true!"
"And people who come to Las Vegas want to stay in a Strip hotel that has no casino!"
"Spot on!"
"And we should build this vision at any cost, even if it means nearly bankrupting the company and letting all of our other properties fall into decay!"
"And we should change our formula to taste more like Pepsi, and call it, 'New Coke'!"

Haw haw haw ... well played, Misnomer, well played indeed. Geniuses at work. I think you nailed it!

I'd have to agree with blackjacker1979, I don't really consider City Center a megaresort. It's kind of in a category of its own right now. It may be the last mega-project in Vegas for awhile, but not forever. Eventually, the economy will recover, the lean years will be forgotten, egos will expand once more, and developers will take ungodly chances on ridiculously expensive projects, assuming that the rewards for taking the risk will be commensurate. This is a gambling town, after all, and what could be a bigger gamble than a billion-dollar resort project?

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