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Gambling Info Discussion Board • View topic - Can CityCenter save Las Vegas economy?
 
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Can CityCenter save Las Vegas economy?

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Can CityCenter save Las Vegas economy?

Postby mickni » 27 Dec 2009, 04:44

Has a state's psyche ever rested so completely on a single resort complex?
In recession-ravaged Las Vegas, the flashy opening this month of Aria - the hotel-casino centerpiece of CityCenter - was regarded as either a sign of the Strip's economic rebound or another symptom of its ailments.

Most Nevadans are praying for the rebound.

The punditocracy cast the unveiling of Aria - a 4,004-room Cesar Pelli-designed hotel with a Maya Lin sculpture above the front desk - in terms more suitable to heroism.

"Hail CityCenter," cheered the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"If it works, all Nevadans surely will sing its praises," said the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"If we can do anything in Nevada, we can hype things," said tourist Rod McMullen of Yerington, Nev., as he took in the $8.5-billion project that one alternative weekly mocked as "CitySavior."

There was far less breathlessness when casino magnate Sheldon Adelson opened Palazzo in 2007 or when Steve Wynn debuted Encore last year. The recession was sapping business even then, but Nevada's power players were convinced that Las Vegas soon would shrug it off. Not so.

Neither Palazzo nor Encore significantly increased the Strip's gaming revenue, as nearly all modern resort openings had. But the Mirage, Bellagio, Venetian and other resorts also had been unveiled during better economic times and catered to a market that Las Vegas had yet to tap completely: the well-to-do.

This explains the reception given CityCenter, a 67-acre warren of upscale hotels, condos and shops. With economic turbulence largely halting new construction, CityCenter might be the last major Strip opening for years - and the last chance, at least for a while, to lure tourists with something new.

"Lots of people want CityCenter to be an economic miracle," said Mary Riddel, interim director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "We've been so dependent for so long on massive openings and massive spending. We've hit a wall."

Nevada is desperate for a white knight. Gaming revenue in October, the most recent month for which data are available, plunged to its lowest level since 2003. In Clark County, unemployment dipped in November to 12.1 percent, but only because the labor force shrank.

Because Nevada relies so heavily on gaming and sales taxes, which are waning, Gov. Jim Gibbons' administration asked state agencies last week to prepare to slash their budgets. Again.

"If CityCenter doesn't change anything, Las Vegas is really in trouble," said William Eadington, director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno.

MGM Mirage, the chief force behind CityCenter, has boosted expectations, with chief executive Jim Murren predicting the complex will increase visitation in 2010 by more than 5 percent. Executives say its modern artwork and glass-sheathed architecture will draw tourists who otherwise would sniff at Sin City.

"So you're not a Vegas person," one ad says. "Are you sure?"

When proposed in 2004, CityCenter seemed a logical, if pricey, evolution for the Strip. Where else would you dare build a huge complex essentially mimicking New York, which is already mimicked by New York-New York Hotel & Casino down the street?

As the project wore on, CityCenter, a partnership with Dubai World, grappled with the consequences of enormous debt and swift construction. Six workers died in accidents. The complex teetered near bankruptcy. With the real estate market in a free fall, MGM Mirage slashed condo prices by 30 percent. (Murren said that, in hindsight, roughly 2,400 residential units might have been too many.)

As CityCenter's phased opening begins, early indicators are mixed. The high-end Crystals mall is about half full. Aria is offering rooms, in terms of opulent hotels, for fire-sale prices: $109 on weeknights.

"Just this place isn't going to pull us out of everything," said McMullen, 59, a retired art teacher who said he was impressed with Aria's sleek, modern look. "It's not the people from Nevada who make these things float. I don't see it doing that much until the national economy turns around."
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Re: Can CityCenter save Las Vegas economy?

Postby michael09 » 27 Dec 2009, 05:00

I think it works
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Re: Can CityCenter save Las Vegas economy?

Postby justin » 09 Feb 2011, 03:52

lets hope for the best i guess..
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