Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Today's newspapers have some interesting stories.

First off is the Sun with an article on Bobby Baldwin and the CityCenter plan. Some of the water and special features are alluded to here. A very interesting article. From this piece I can't help but think that pretty soon there will be way too many interesting resorts to really see Las Vegas in a single weekend anymore... if you can even do that still today.

Second is an article on implosion prep for the Stardust:

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Read archived comments (14 so far)
January 21, 2007 10:39 AM Posted by mike_ch

Sun CityCenter story wrote: "Baldwin smiled. "It's not a place to get the buffet. This is definitely a tourist destination � It's not designed to cater to locals.""

If that's the case, then why do you want people living there?

Also says: "Residents working in CityCenter office buildings would take the people-mover to their CityCenter condos. The idea stopped urban planners in their tracks. It was hailed as a potential model for cities the world over."

If anyone actually said that, then I have to laugh at them. The same concepts were used with Walt Disney's original EPCoT, an idea for a completely unfeasible glass-domed privately-controlled city. Residents would take the PeopleMover (a slow-moving ride at several parks) across short distances and the Monorail across long distances. And even that was just a car-free retake on an idea that first popped up in France in the 1920s.

"Asked by a wiseguy where the bowling alleys and buffets will be found, Baldwin smiled. "It's not a place to get the buffet. This is definitely a tourist destination � It's not designed to cater to locals.""

If so, then why is he asking people to live there?

As of yesterday, about 40% of the Stardust tower was stripped away.

January 21, 2007 10:58 AM Posted by Christian

Yea Mike, I passed by her last's a shame to see her so bare.

You bring up an excellent point - why would people live there if its a tourist destination.

I think MGM Mirage got a little to fliipant with their money. Why do you need a $40 million dollar construction office for a complex that is selling itself? I'm no expert, but I think $20 million would have done just as well. And things like that make you wonder how much money was wasted in a project of this scale. Baldwin has a good idea of keeping on the same team of developers to save money, but I'm sure he could have saved even more with a little cost-benefit analysis.

I do like the fact that they even designed the roof to look better for condo residents. Kudos.

Reguardless, when I'm in college I will have to fly back and visit the esteemed Project CityCenter.

January 21, 2007 10:59 AM Posted by mike_ch

Oops, I wrote the thing about CityCenter twice. Can you tell I wrote that post in two sittings?

January 21, 2007 11:05 AM Posted by Christian

it's all good mike.

so I'm guessing the water features are by WET design?

When I passed the Stardust last night, a lot more levels of windows were cleared contrary to the picture in the article.

January 21, 2007 7:00 PM Posted by Mike P.

mike, that comment by Bobby Baldwin makes perfect sense to me, and I bet it does to you as well. I've met plenty of locals at Wynn's bank of full pay VP machines who were there for the sole purpose of earning enough points for a comped buffet. Most of them were happy to give advice about how to get the best free buffet bang for the gambled buck at various casinos.

And Wynn apparently needed butts in seats badly enough to provide some "locals friendly" machines in a high traffic area for a while. According to VPFREE chatter those machines disappeared last week along with a lot of locals only promotions, so I guess Wynn's casino is doing well enough not to need locals' action anymore. Brian should be happy.

Mike P.

January 22, 2007 8:25 AM Posted by detroit1051

The Greening of CityCenter:

January 22, 2007 10:41 AM Posted by mike_ch

Okay, well, I'm not seeing this in the newest photos at Flickr or Webshots, so until then I'll just have to hold onto my hat until I can get over there sometime next month.

January 25, 2007 12:51 AM Posted by motoman

"....According to VPFREE chatter those machines disappeared last week along with a lot of locals only promotions, so I guess Wynn's casino is doing well enough not to need locals' action anymore....."

If the table limits are any guide, I'd say WLV must be doing fine. (Sorry I'm not privy to ADR or occupancy data.) Granted we were there during a weekend, and CES had just let out. But by the weekend conventioneers should've been long gone (room rates were back down by then), yet blackjack table limits at our preferred tables in back were $200 to $1000 minimum and that's not the high limit area but just on the floor!

Anyway, I got some shots of the Stardust deconstruction that I haven't sent in yet. It's amazing just how much stripping & recycling they do, because we could see bare concrete on the walls and ceilings.

March 16, 2007 7:34 AM Posted by detroit1051

Out-of-state and out-of-country money is keeping the Vegas high rise condo market from imploding. Flippers are the ones being hurt.

CityCenter really is the bright spot:
"Project CityCenter is "extremely hot right now," he said.
"I've met with them twice and I'm on their list to buy at Veer. They told me that one gentleman bought 25 units at Mandarin Oriental for $4 million each, or $100 million total," Beltz said. "Amazing."

March 16, 2007 3:23 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

detroit, I understand that you will no longer be reading nor responding to any of [my] posts, however, for everyone else who might be interested, I officially "rest my case" as far as my own earlier predictions that CityCenter eventually will become the most successful single phase commercial real estate project in all of U.S. history, ONE wealthy speculative buyer alone plunking down $100M for 25 units at Mandarin Oriental pretty much sums up the attraction of the super-rich to CityCenter! And, for those who think that they [MGM/MIRAGE] won't raze Monte Carlo in order to future capitalize on this level of "must have" luxury Strip investment property are delusional. For all of those Wynn "fanboys" here, Steve himself finally has admitted that escalating construction material costs, combined with the constant everchanging design modifications (by Wynn), including a "rumored" dedicated Michael Jackson (permanent) showroom (OMG!), have caused the original projected cost of Encore to escalate by AT LEAST $600M which will also result in a subsequent delay originally projected for the completion/opening. Wynn now "blames" the fact that there is a current "crisis" + shortage in availability of qualified subcontractors as a result of Perini's lion's share absorption of major construction workers, most notably CityCenter + Cosmo, at the present time. Marnell-Corrao finally abandoned Wynn after Tony "lost his shirt" on WLV, Tutor-Saliba will most likely end up in the RED upon completion of Encore + pretty soon NO major General Contractor worth their salt will even consider taking on a WYNN project here! Ask yourself, how many major mega-resorts on the scale of Encore have Tutor-Saliba already completed in Las Vegas? Steve, in his three decade career, has NEVER quite understood the art of how to efficiently construct a "fast track" project, and the really sad part is, he never will!

March 18, 2007 3:23 AM Posted by Hunter


I went through the CityCenter sales pavilion today and saw it all. I will do a full write-up but in short - WOW.

City Center has potential to be truly amazing if these renderings pan out.

More to follow.


PS - Encore is zooming along, the Strip looks strange without the Stardust and CityCenter's hotel is also making great progress. I'll be survived if the Palazzo is 95% done by 12/31. My guess is that it will open to guests Q1-2008.

March 18, 2007 1:37 PM Posted by mike_ch

Survived, eh? :P

I suppose it's quite likely you saw something resort-related that I didn't. What I saw felt like a combination between a timeshare sales office and a car dealership.

It'll be nice, at last, to hear someone jazzed about this project explain exactly why they're excited other than "I can't tell you because then I'll lose my VIP Pass to the cool kids' club."

March 19, 2007 2:23 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter, Don't say that I didn't tell you all of this stuff in advance in trems of expectations for CityCenter! Vdara will actually utilize one of the most sophistiacted "multi-layer" curtain wall exterior facades ever attempted which deflect sunlight by 50%. When this entire project is complete, you guys will look at Wynn's mundane CRAP as the equivalent of a Motel 6! BTW - They have just started installing that same horrid 1980's bronze reflective glazing alreday on the lower levels of Encore. In addition, literally EVERYBODY I know has commented to me how absolutely hideous the 'gold plinth' (i.e. Trump Tower) looks like now that they are close to being topped out + the majority of the glazing has been installed. Another example of really bad architecture that we will all have no choice but to endure for many years to come, + just the thought of a second identical tower, which will start construction by the end of '07, makes me nauseous! Unrelated, BTW the Milam Tower (LVT) looks like they are a go! The fomer Wet n' Wild site have alreday begun preliminary grading + construction trailers are being erected on site. Stay tuned.

P.S. detroit, I know that you ARE reading this post regardless of what you have said...LOL

March 19, 2007 2:40 PM Posted by Hunter

Despite being impressed with the CityCenter stuff I saw, it didn't make me like Wynn Las Vegas any less.

Actually, I had lunch at the Country Club on Saturday and Tableau on Sunday, both times sitting outside. It will be hard for even the mighty City Center to match the stellar experience that we had at both restaurants, enjoying the weather, golf course and swimming pool. It was quiet, the food was good and the service top notch.

For me, there's room for both the Wynns and the City Centers of the world to coexist.

I am adding photos now, then I'll try to crank out a few articles on CityCenter, construction, Spamalot, etc...