Las Vegas’ CityCenter is Changing the Skyline and Proving the Future is Now
Despite dour warnings about America’s economic future, Las Vegas is still rapidly evolving. Never have I looked out a window in any hotel along the Strip, from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn, without seeing a crane and construction somewhere in the view.
The crowning glory of this phenomenon is sure to become MGM/Mirage Corporation’s gargantuan $9.2-billion mixed-use development CityCenter, created in association with Dubai World and instantaneously becoming the most expensive privately funded property ever attempted by our unstoppably upwardly-mobile species.
CityCenter is scheduled to open late in 2009 and is an unprecedented architectural paradigm for the ideal modern city with potential to redefine contemporary urban design throughout the world. Best yet, each building within CityCenter is being designed to pursue Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Featuring a fourth-mile of Strip frontage and an ultra fast and strikingly state-of-the-art tram system which will whisk visitors and residents alike from the Bellagio through a massive retail complex and on to the Monte Carlo, CityCenter is currently being built with lightning speed on 76 primetime acres, replacing the dilapidated old Boardwalk Hotel and that long line of low rent t-shirt shops and helicopter tour sites located between those two hotels.
The centerpiece of CityCenter is the 61-story, 4,004-room Aria Hotel and Convention Center, featuring two curved towers and an all-glass 150,000-sq. ft. casino at the very top of the complex—which immediately defies longtime Vegas history and logic, which insists that windowless casinos made to camouflage time of day make its often zombie-like visitors gamble longer. The Aria’s sophisticated, contemporary design by Pelli Clarke Pelli will serve as the gateway to all CityCenter has to offer, including the entire complex’s overall groundbreaking design meant to introduce a dazzling vertical city in the heart of Vegas’ sprawling horizontal grid.
The 400-room Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences launched last January and 38% of the property’s additional 207 residences were snapped up with lightning speed by eager buyers, as this bold new addition to the Vegas skyline had been eagerly awaited by individuals wanting the exceptionally exclusive atmosphere that will be central to the Harmon living experience. The ultra-chi-chi Mandarin Hotel and Casino, owned and operated by the five-star New York-based Mandarin Hotel Corporation, will also provide a similarly world-class experience for its future fulltime residents and visitors, mirroring the Harmon with 400 guest rooms and over 200 permanent residences as well.
The Vdara Condo Hotel, designed by Rafael Vinoly, will be a 57-story ebony tower with 1,543 condo units; architect Helmut Jahn’s Veer Towers, two silhouette towers of glass, will house 674 modern loft-like residences; and The Crystals, CityCenter’s 500,000-sq. ft. retail district designed by Daniel Libeskind (of the new World Trade Center fame) and featuring $40-million worth of modern sculptures and installations by world famous artists, will offer international luxury brand stores and high-end couture under a crystalline canopy of unprecedented brilliance.
The Crystals will also incorporate the all-new Cirque du Soleil Theatre, which in 2010 will debut an original spectacular featuring the music of Elvis Presley. The Cirque’s usual creative combination of live musicians and singers, projections, dance and the latest in multimedia sound and lighting technology will offer the company’s signature emotional bond with the audience as it brings The King back to Vegas for millions of his existing fans—and create a buzz that will enable the persona of Elvis to reach untold numbers of new fans.
Cirque founder Guy Laliberté commented of the project: “This new creative challenge is exactly what we strive at accomplishing in the development of our new productions. Cirque du Soleil is thrilled to be involved in CityCenter and we are particularly honored to be entrusted with this assignment. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the public will have an unforgettable encounter with the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis had a unique relationship with his adoring fans in Vegas and a large part of our mission is to recreate the excitement and the spirit of joy he generated here.”
Bobby Baldwin, President and CEO of Mirage Resorts, MGM/Mirage’s operating division, said: “We are thrilled to partner with our friends and colleagues at Cirque du Soleil, who are known the world over for creating memorable entertainment experiences. With this show we will bring together Elvis, an icon of Las Vegas entertainment history, with CityCenter, a destination that represents the future of this remarkable city.”
There’s no doubt that MGM/Mirage’s amazing new CityCenter is quickly confirming the 21st century’s amazing cultural and lifestyle revival of city living at its finest—especially in ol’ El Vee.
For information on CityCenter as it unfolds, check out www.citycenter.com