This Place Really is a City

You have to wonder: If Kirk Kerkorian and the other MGM Mirage senior brass had a crystal ball in the boardroom and could have foreseen the economic trend, would the colossus known as CityCenter still be opening next month? While we may never know that answer, we do know that this continent’s largest privately funded construction project in history is nearing a multi-staged opening for a project that was meant to transform the Las Vegas Strip in size and scope.

Credit: MGM Mirage

With a marketing campaign in full effect and reservations being accepted propertywide, details and numbers are now being revealed that provide an amazing snapshot of what the property entails. While this project is obviously not entirely nightlife focused, it should hold interest and relevance to operators everywhere. With the launch of the project’s web site, we figured this might be a perfect opportunity to look at what a dozen or so billion can build these days!

The largest property within the complex is easily Aria Resort & Casino, which includes more than 4,000 guest rooms and suites and the newest offering from Cirque du Soleil, an Elvis-themed production coined Viva Elvis. This property also will be host to 16 restaurants, 10 bars and two venues from the Light Group: a daylife, adults-only pool named Liquid and a 25,000 square foot nightclub named Haze. While details surrounding Haze remain tightly guarded, we do know it will be a two-story venue with dramatic design elements from ICRAVE, the firm that has hit nightclub homeruns across the country with venues like Hyde, Crobar NY, Tenjune and Pacha. Sources reveal that the club also will include some extraordinary visual and technological elements, such as interactive projection screens, a 20-foot light wall, a complex trussing system over the dance floor and a performance platform for both planned and impromptu performances. Here’s a scoop: We’re pretty excited to be hosting the Nightclub & Bar 25th Anniversary Party at Haze on Monday, March 9 during the 2010 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show.

The complex’s most high-end entry will be Mandarin Oriental, which will offer an environment devoid of gaming and some 600 rooms, suites and residences. It also will offer its own roster of six restaurants including a restaurant and bar from cutting-edge and Michelin star bedazzled French chef Pierre Gagnaire, who operates restaurants in Paris, Tokyo, Dubai, London, Hong Kong and Seoul. There also are rumors of an exclusive 20th-story lobby bar that will provide an unparalleled view from smack dab in the middle of the famed Las Vegas Strip; check-in happens in the Sky Lobby on the 23rd floor.

The third tower, Vdara, will offer 1,500 suites in a non-gaming and non-smoking environment. There also is great buzz on the street for Silk Road, a restaurant concept created by energetic chef Martin Heierling, who has expertly kept Bellagio’s Sensi Restaurant on track for the last several years. The menu will be a diverse offering of the tastes, textures and ingredients an ancient traveler would have found along the ancient silk trading routes.

The fourth tower, The Harmon, is delayed from the rest of the property and is slated for opening near the end of 2010. Little information has been released about this property, although it is rumored that legendary star-serving restaurant Mr. Chow’s will open an outpost there.

Rounding out the property will be Crystals Retail & Entertainment, a 500,000-square-foot space consisting of retail, entertainment and restaurants. While the shopping scene promises to rival any city in the world with high-end retailers and luxury brands, Crystals also will offer two restaurant concepts from Wolfgang Puck, an expansion of the Mastro’s Ocean Club brand, a pub concept from chef Todd English and BESO Vegas, the second installment of Eva Longoria Parker’s popular Beverly Hills hotspot. BESO also will operate a nightclub on its second story coined Eve, although details are still very scarce on that venue as well.

While we will never know what the MGM brass would do if they could have seen what transpired on the economic front, we will soon be able to see their vision unveiled.

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