Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

January 1, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - January 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

The new year's ongoing lead story will likely be CityCenter as it moves toward either completion or modification in 2009. The speculation about Harmon is followed today by Norm in the RJ raising issues about Veer:
"There are rumblings that MGM Mirage is close to announcing the status of the beleagured City Center project, including whether several buildings will be completed. There's talk that The Harmon, the Light Group's boutique condo-tel, with 400 hotel rooms and suites and about 200 luxury condominiums, will be delayed. The bigger concern, I'm told, is the central iconic tower, which was designed to lean about 22 degrees but is now almost double that because of a cabling issue. ..."


Read archived comments (63 so far)
January 1, 2009 8:45 AM Posted by Tootsie

Its OK with me if the main tower falls down. The City Center is an eyesore. I keep wondering how they will fill those rooms and condos. I've yet to hear one person actually say it looks like it belongs on the strip. Bring back the old days and the themed casinos!

January 1, 2009 10:07 AM Posted by Mike P.

Huh? The Veer Towers are designed to lean 5 degrees according to every press release I've seen. I'd think someone would notice if they were actually leaning nearly 45 degrees, or even ten.

I do hope MGM says something official about the status of the CityCenter projects soon. I've seen three or four variations of Harmon rumors, all unsourced of course, plus lots of idle speculation in places like skyscraperpage. This is the first weird rumor I've seen about Veer.

January 1, 2009 11:58 AM Posted by Phil

I'm a little confused on how to read Norm's "cabling issue" comment. Are they concerned about the structural integrity or are they concerned that the building isn't selling any condos in comparison to the 30 closes a quarter the others are doing. Either way its gas on the fire.

Also noticed Norm's comment on Wynn hiring Harry Connick Jr. I wish Wynn could sign him to a long term contract, much better choice and in line with the class of Wynn and Encore. Him or Michael Buble would be ideal for that calibur of hotel. Add me to the list of people that want to see the ridiculous $20 million a year pay to hacks like Danny Gans, Terry Fator and Phillipe Gagnon types end. On Fox, the New Years special was live from the Mirage and it was a 2 hour commerical essentially for MGM-Mirage properites, they talked about every Cirque show MGM has, then out of the blue they interview Terry Fator with him holding a puppet. Of course the skit was a disaster and the host faked laughter and all I could think was how in the hell does this guy get a $100 million out of Mirage????? No wonder they're in trouble.

January 1, 2009 12:37 PM Posted by Anthony

22 Degrees? It only leans 5 degrees, unless someone really screwed up.

January 1, 2009 1:15 PM Posted by Mark D

Veer is now where near leaning 44 degrees. Just look at it, it's about 22 degrees, as planned. Though, there could be rumors of structural issues that Norm is exaggerating.

January 1, 2009 2:08 PM Posted by Mike E

Phil, I couldn't agree with you more about Harry Connick and a long term deal. In a perfect world, Gans will flop at Encore and go back to Mirage, Connick will love how he's treated at Encore's VIP celebration and sign a residency there, and Fator will work the puppet show that used to be outside Excalibur's buffet.

January 1, 2009 4:06 PM Posted by Phil

I remember that puppet show on the 2nd floor of the Excalibur, all the kids used to sit on the floor in front of the stage. You're right , Fator is perfect for that, I think it pays $10.00/hr.

On another note, has the RateVegas gang ever thought of doing an archtectural review of The Mansion at MGM Grand. I recall when it opened it was "the" place for high rollers, I'm not sure if its still that anymore, but I remember a piece done on it in Architectural Digest I believe and it was incredibly beautiful. I'm not sure if they let it run down hill as of late.

January 1, 2009 4:15 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Add me to the list also. I don't understand this Veer thing. I had not heard any problems over there. If Harmon really is stopped at this level, and this is another major problem at Veer, then I'm really worried about this project. This project was lead by the best of the best, i've been told that over and over. If the best contractors, engineers, and architects were all used, and this is the result, then I'll stand by original opinion, which was, City Center, might be large, but I really don't think Steve Wynn is concerned about this project effecting his business what so ever. And at the end of the day, I think he's right, it won't.

January 1, 2009 5:40 PM Posted by Dave

I think that Wynn should get someone who you wouldn't normally associate with Las Vegas, like Harry Connick, Jr. or Norah Jones, to headline. It would be great if he had a space to do the anti-thesis of the Vegas show--no dancers, no big production numbers, just a small room with a performer and a band, with audience close enough to make eye contact. I'm confident the design folks could create a fantastic, intimate room that would do justice to the headliner. It would be revisiting the Copa Room and reversing the mega-showroom trend.

January 1, 2009 7:23 PM Posted by Doug

Harry Connick Jr. and Norah Jones are both excellant ideas - and I like the idea of revisiting the Copa Room(it would be stealing from the Sands, but you don't need to call it the Copa Room).

I think Danny Gans and the rumored BeeGees show are WAY, WAY, WAY out-of-date for Encore(and all of Las Vegas for that matter). If Wynn was going steal anybody from the Mirage he should have gotten Jay Leno. And for a club like 'XS' he should probably have opened it with a live performance by someone like Avril Lavigne(maybe, I'm not sure).

These old entertainers - or old style - are not going to keep Las Vegas 'Hip and Now' for anybody and it's a sad thing for Wynn...Maybe that's why places like Mandalay Bay and Planet Hollywood are still ok - and The Mirage is still 'packing in' the 'under 30 crowd'.

January 1, 2009 7:31 PM Posted by Mark D

If there is truth to these rumors that Perini has made mistakes, maybe that's the real reason why CityCenter has recently given Tishman more responsibility?

January 1, 2009 8:24 PM Posted by John

So, how many of you have actually seen Fator's act? A few months ago, I was with a group of 12 that saw him at the Las Vegas Hilton and every single one of us walked out of there happy to have paid the money to see him. Ranging from the ages of 23 to 80, everyone loved it. It was fun.

While it's not a classy, high-rollers-only show, it was tremendously entertaining.

January 1, 2009 10:38 PM Posted by Phil

I agree with Dave, I remember when the Bellagio opened and they had Michael Feinstein playing the lounge, pure class in my view. Could you imagine, just showing up at the Wynn or Encore and playing in a small lounge happens to be Herbie Hancock playing jazz in a quartet. And you get it all just for a drink like the old days, now that may not be realistic today, but a small cover charge in a small intimate lounge I think you would have a lot of appeal to that concept.

January 1, 2009 11:12 PM Posted by brent

You gotta think MGM secretly wishes they never started this thing when they did. You got the whole concept of "strip" condos unproven with the real estate bubble over (look at st. regis at palazzo, trump, etc.). Plus, you got a glut of hotel rooms coming on line when visitation is stagnant if not dropping. I really like the concept and architecture of citycenter but i just don't see how they're going to fill up all that space, at least in the next few years. Condos have gone cold, and Vegas doesn't need more hotel rooms at this point. I'm curious what Mandarin Orientel thinks about their stake at this point. I wouldn't be surprised if City Center "opens" with just aria and vdara.

January 2, 2009 2:35 AM Posted by mike_ch

What Wynn needs to hire is not an act or a show, but a producer. This producer should be instructed to make an un-Vegas show. Nothing like that musical he was singing numbers out of to a mortified shareholders meeting way back in the Mirage years. The only constriction on the producer's vision is that he should not be making a show with overt Vegas concessions to try and get over with the crowd. It should be something that would play as natural in New York or London.

It is a gamble, but if he picks the right producer he could have something. Could you imagine a popular show that starts out here before going on tour, instead of landing here after it's premiered in New York and then toured around everywhere?

And someone might say, even Wynn would probably say, "if the show is a hit why let it go on tour?" And to that I say, because it gets stale. Because no matter how great O is, I saw it once and I really don't have an inclination to go back. "Oh look, there's the guy in the crowd, I bet he goes up on stage. Yep, he got sucked into the show again."

Since Bellagio, all of Wynn's marketing have promoted shows as "The show at (name of hotel)" As though the name and reputation of the resort is enough to sell the show. "This is the show at Bellagio. Well, I like the Bellagio a lot, so I bet the show is good." "Well, if Wynn is this nice, the show must be pretty incredible." Except it doesn't work that way. But if he can find the right people and be willing to take chances, he can have his property be known as "The hotel that discovered (name of successful new show)" and that will do him a lot better.

Steve loves to talk about Sieggy & Roy, but people didn't see S&R because they were at the Mirage and so they had to be good, S&R sold Mirage more than Mirage sold S&R.

January 2, 2009 4:19 AM Posted by detroit1051

When Steve Wynn owned Bellagio, there were no finer rooms than Allegro and Fontana. The performers were exceptional and the ambience totally in sync with Bellagio's image. What great rooms! The fact that Steve walked away from this concept when he opened Wynn, and didn't return to it with Encore makes me think he was either disappointed in their revenues or their potential in the resort. MGM hastened the demise of these rooms with Caramel and the frequent use of Fontana for poker and blackjack tournaments.
It's too bad.

January 2, 2009 10:02 AM Posted by Mark D

Brent, my understanding is that the Mandarin Oriental has had the best sales so far of CityCenter's condo offerings. Something like 90 percent sold. But, it remains to be seen how many actually close.

January 2, 2009 11:34 AM Posted by Phil

In regards to Mike's producer idea, I can see that point and I agree its a risk. While Wynn has argued with Friess about Ave. Q and Le Reve about the $'s he did per show, neither of which had the buzz or association an "O" or S&R had for a hotel. His next move has to be right or it may be seen as strike 3 in the publics eyes regardless of the numbers Wynn presents in argument. I just think a guy like Harry Connick or Michael Buble would be perfect equation, more so Buble as he's probably one of the hottest acts out there, but its sort of a Celine Dion kind of effect, everyone associated Celine with Caesars it went hand in hand. A guy like Buble would do that, less so Connick, but he's a very good second place in terms of bringing legitimate talent that is not some tv show talent show winner, a guy that harks back to the days of Sammy and Sinatra equal in class to match the echelon of that hotel.

As far a seeing Fator as another poster mentioned. I honestly haven't, however I have seen him on tv a few times and of course YouTube. I may have been a little harsh saying he's a hack, he does have talent, but its the dollars they are paying him for what you get that I just don't understand. Its the fact that his contract in dollars is fairly equal to Celine Dion's contract, its the fact that you got a guy like Harry Connick thats perfect not getting that deal that shocks me. Fator's average ticket price is $75.00, now maybe I'm wrong, but I think 6 or 7 people out of 10 would rather pay $75.00 to see Harry Connick Jr. over Fator.

January 2, 2009 6:01 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I ahve talked to people who have seen Fator, they all rave about him. Any knocks I have read or heard about Fator were not first hand accounts.
I still say that Wynn. & Encore are the stars, and a mega headliner or show is an unnecessary risk for at least 3 or 4 years.
What I find humorous is that we are debating headliners that represent show types that are at least 50 years old. Ventriliquist vs. Impressionist vs Big Band/Standards Singer. I think any of them would fit nicely on the "Dean Martin Variety Hour".

January 2, 2009 8:04 PM Posted by Phil

You certainly have a point about the Dean Martin Variety Show, but to me its the total package that make a resort "THE" place in town. The best casino, the best restaurants, the best entertainers......etc. It brings an extra buzz to a place when you know somebody of that quality plays there. I guess I'm a little biased, my father was an entertainment director back long, long ago (not in Vegas) and I've been lucky to meet some of the old school guys when I was very young and know first hand how great things used to be. There are very few on the planet that bring back those memories with their talent, Connick Jr. and Buble are two of those guys. More importantly they appeal to both old and young, the perfect combination.

I love to see the statistics on the varying entertainer's gate. I can see Bellagio's "O" drawing 50% of the gate from customers who are not staying at the Bellagio, but a guy like Fator, is it significantly less, meaning his talent doesn't draw people who are staying at other casinos? The bottom line is Fator will have to prove his worth, I don't know how the contract is structured and if Mirage has outs if he bombs, but the reality if he puts butts in the seats they'll be happy. I would never think Danny Gans would last this long and he has.

January 2, 2009 9:33 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Is there spell check on this site? I, uh, feel compelled to admit I'm skrood wifout it.
Kinda undermines my brilliant arguments.

January 3, 2009 12:44 AM Posted by Anthony

More information about the spa, nightclub and restaurants have finally been added to Encore's website.

January 3, 2009 4:00 AM Posted by Duffman

I've always wondered this. With almost every casino having a racing and sportsbook, why has there not been a casino to open up a live horse track in Vegas? Is it too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter? Would take up too much room? Is there some law against it?

January 3, 2009 9:41 AM Posted by Phil

I might be wrong, but I think Vegas had two, there was one on where the convention center sits now and one about 30 minutes out of town, both failed. I think the one outside of town still has the buildings up, sort of a relic of Vegas past. I might be wrong, but this is what I remember.

January 3, 2009 9:45 AM Posted by detroit1051

David McKee sometimes comes across to me as too cynical, but he's usually right on in his comments. His discussion of Fontainebleau and Palazzo are on the mark, in my opinion:

January 3, 2009 9:51 AM Posted by Tom M.

Has anyone seen or is planning to produce a video of the Switch restaurant's wall changes so we can see it here on the net. I am somewhat surprised that I cannot find it on Youtube.

January 3, 2009 10:04 AM Posted by Phil

I see something in the Encore Spa pictures that reminds me of past Vegas decor. For those that remember when the Aladdin tower opened up in the 70's with the dominant colors of purple and gold, some of the lights they used in there look very similar to the lights used along the hallway shot with the Budda at the end. The old Aladdin decor borrowed very much on Morrocan themes.

January 3, 2009 10:37 AM Posted by Hunter

I will create a Switch video in about 10 days if one doesn't already exist by then.

January 3, 2009 10:57 AM Posted by Andrew H

I know this may sound weird but I have always thought Penn & Teller would be a great fit for Wynn/Encore. They are smart, great show, and bring in a wide demo. Of course they are under contract to The Rio, at some point I’d love to see them on the strip at a better hotel.

On a different note I was in town for NYE, and stayed at Bellagio. IT has been about two years since I stayed at Bellagio last and I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. MGM has really let this gem of a hotel go downhill. In my room one phone did not work, the armoire was chipped badly, the carpet stained and the sink would make noise keeping me up all night. It’s sad what has happened to Bellagio, I hope Penn National or Wynn buy Bellagio and bring it back to its glory. The only thing I can say nice about my stay was the room rate, $149 a night for 3 nights from 12-29 to 1/1.

January 3, 2009 1:20 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Phil, I think you're right. The Convention Center area track was from the mid 50's? Wasn't the one outside town from the 80's, and had dog racing, also?
I love horse racing more than any other type of gaming. Nothing compares to the entire experience of a live horse race. From the paddock parade, to standing at the rail when the starting gate is 10 feet in front of me , to seeing them race down the stretch, it's as good as life gets. But, Horse racing is a declining sport, and no one is sure how to revive it. The only way they stay open now is by becoming Racinos, and being supported by the slot revenue. Which leads me to say that I don't think any new tracks will be built in North America in my lifetime.
Of all the things I know about the afterlife, there is one thing of which I am most certain. They're racing Horses in Heaven.

January 3, 2009 3:27 PM Posted by Phil

I think Penn & Teller have their place in Vegas in joints like Harrahs and Rio (that mid-range locale), but I can't see them in Wynn/Encore personally. Thats like James Bond going to a McDonalds, its not going to happen.

January 3, 2009 5:34 PM Posted by Don S

Has anyone checked out Encore and WLV rates for late winter and spring 2009? They seem really, really high to me. We travel to LV about three times a year and have been staying in the Tower Suites section at WLV because of the private pool (I love the quietness/relative privacy of the back pool and great pool-side service). We just finished a three-day stay (12/23-26) in a Tower Suites room at Encore. I don't think we have ever paid anything close to the rates the website is qouting for the next several months. Also, there are no WLV Tower Suites rooms available between now and June.

So, my questions to all of you are what gives with these room rates? Think they will go down as the dates get closer. Regarding the Tower Suite rooms, do you think casino marketing is holding on to them and will release them later?

Finally, it looks like the Encore pools are going to be a bit of a scene. Anybody have any ideas what it is going to be like during prime pool hours (10-4)? I think there might be a pretty stark difference between the WLV TS pools and Encore. Anyone agree/disagree?

Thanks and Happy New Year.

January 3, 2009 7:34 PM Posted by Aaron_b

I’m sort of surprised by the rumors about City Center not being completed. I just returned from a weeklong stay at Bellagio and out my window every day I could see Perini’s cranes moving supplies and equipment around the CC site as well as working on Cosmopolitan. I suppose they may simply be planning to finish the exteriors of some of the buildings while waiting for better economic times to complete the interiors later. It looked like Vdara and Aria are by far the closest to completion. While walking down the strip I observed that work also appeared to be proceeding on the Veer towers as well as Harmon. There is no way that Veer is leaning anywhere near 44 degrees.

My experience at Bellagio last week was fortunately better than the experience Andrew H had. I was in on of the Bellagio Suites which was renovated just over a year ago and the suite was in excellent condition. Bellagio’s regular rooms in the main tower have now gone about 4 or 5 years since their last renovation, so it does not surprise me that they are showing their age though MGM should definitely be replacing any stained carpet and chipped furniture as well as keeping up with general maintenance in between their room refreshes. I do worry that cash starved MGM will further defer maintenance at Bellagio to feed City Center. I think it would be great if Steve Wynn could buy back Bellagio. Steve would get one of his babies back and MGM would have the cash to finish City Center properly.

January 4, 2009 11:09 AM Posted by detroit1051

This week's Clark County Planning and Zoning meetings have several agenda items regarding Cosmo, an extension of prior approvals because the project is not anticipated to be completed until the end of 2010.
Also, Southern Highlands hotel expansion plans modified:

January 4, 2009 12:42 PM Posted by Phil

Here is that piece I mentioned earlier about the "Mansion at MGM Grand" done by Architectural Digest. 95% of visitors don't even know it has existed for the past 8 years, but then again very few can afford it.

I'd love to see if the RateVegas guys can do a photo essay on this place. Like I mentioned before, I hope they didn't let it run down.

January 4, 2009 5:15 PM Posted by detroit1051

Phil, thanks for the article. The Mansion is truly grand, but I think tastes have changed since the late 1990's or whenever it opened. It and the original Bellagio 3rd floor Villas were both in the "Old money European" style. I believe Wynn led the change to a more contemporary luxury in 2005 with the Fairway Villas (which I saw thanks to Mike E). However, there is no question that The Mansion was (and perhaps still is) the epitome of luxury. When it first opened, it was not available to anyone except "invited guests". Then, I understand MGM started renting it out at a starting rate of $5,000 per night. I would assume MGM Mirage still uses it and the villas at Bellagio and The Mirage primarily for high rollers. You're right, it would be nice to see current photos.
The closest I got to The Mansion was when I drove up the parking ramp next door at the UA Theatre in 2005. Here are the photos I took:

January 4, 2009 5:24 PM Posted by mike_ch

I definitely prefer grand, cathedral-like surroundings to glass and aluminum minimalism, but that's just me. That changeover actually goes about as far back as Palms and I've never really cared for it. Wynn makes it bearable as he pulls on a lot of the same design cues going back to Mirage.

January 4, 2009 7:19 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Those are by far the best pictures I've ever seen of MGM Mansion. And I said I don't care for MGM's stuff, gheeze, was I wrong, I could handle staying there. :)

Yes the carpet in Sinatra's is very impressive, and I'm in the business. The pattern match is huge, and its all custom made just for Wynn.

January 4, 2009 9:00 PM Posted by Mike E

Back in early 2004, you could reserve a villa at The Mansion for $2500 per night. The price is inflated now so they can claim the title to most expensive hotel in the world and also leave wiggle room for Skyloft pricing.

More Mansion photos:

Wilson and Associates:

The latter also features Caesars' villas, and surprisingly enough, some of Palms' Fantasy Suites. Jerry Beale will indeed be an interesting addition to Wynn Resorts.

January 4, 2009 9:01 PM Posted by dstanley

The talk of the MGM Grand mansion got me to wondering about the current share of the high end gaming and baccarat market among the resorts. I remember reading a while back that Wynn had overtaken Bellagio in that market and that actually surprised me. Does anyone know how the various resorts (Wynn,Caesers, MGM Grand etc...) rank in terms of there share of high end gaming and baccarat?

January 4, 2009 9:47 PM Posted by Phil

Thanks to those who posted those links of the insides of the Mansion, Caesars Villas ...etc. Some of those shots definitely do not come off as the expected styrofoam remake we're all so familiar with Venetian decor, but instead they look like real old world. I love that outdoor patio at the Mansion. Looks straight out of a movie set. Some of those shots from those various hotels remind me of having a suite at the Waldorf Astoria or being in a 300 year old villa in Italy. Some of that you can't pull off with fakery, but only serious money to purchase the real stuff. I'd be curious to find out how much something like the Mansion cost, it would surprise me if that little 29 room hotel within a hotel cost $100 million.

January 4, 2009 9:51 PM Posted by Anthony

CityCenter careers page now up. Will this give the boost that Vegas needs?

January 5, 2009 1:03 AM Posted by detroit1051

Wow. That's a lot of jobs! MGM did a good job with the career site, including specific positions by property down to bus persons at each individual restaurant.

January 5, 2009 10:16 AM Posted by John H.

A cursory viewing of the site shows quite a few interesting additions that I don't think have been reported as of yet. It looks like MGM is going to maintain that Baccarat Bar concept at the...Baccarat Bar. It also looks like they are going to forego the "let's put a Starbucks in every property" mantra and instead open a Roasted Bean at the property.

There are, though, a few entries that I hadn't heard of in previously released dining outlet lists. I'm not quite sure what The Crossings, Sage, and Lemongrass are. They could be bars, but it sounds like The Skybox, Chill, Curve Bar, and the City Bar are taking up those mantles.

All-in-all, it seems like the resort is replicating, for better or worse, and number of the aspects of Bellagio that have been proven winners. Although, I think we all remember that the B Bar at Wynn, in its original inception, was something of a failure...

January 5, 2009 12:15 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Rumors are out this afternoon that Mirage has been sold. I really hope this is just a rumor. Yes it will help the stock price, short term, but that's really thinking short sighted in my mind. BIG MISTAKE MGM!!!

January 5, 2009 12:30 PM Posted by Jeff Simpson

Responding to dstanley's question about how the big operators stack up in terms of high end gaming and baccarat, the market has changed a lot in the past decade. Before Wynn Las Vegas opened MGM Mirage dominated the so-called high roller market (analysts use baccarat numbers as a substitute, but there's plenty of high end blackjack and dice, too), with about two-thirds of the market (mostly at Bellagio, but MGM Grand and Mirage were also players at the top). Venetian and Caesars Palace were the biggest competitors to MGM Mirage;s dominance.

Before Wynn opened Bobby Baldwin told me that MGM would keep more than half of the baccarat market, but Wynn grabbed more than half of the market within a year of opening. Bellagio is still a strong second (along with sister properties MGM Grand and Mirage), with Venetian/Palazzo third and Caesars fourth. It will be very interesting to see if Encore allows Wynn Resorts to widen its lead.

January 6, 2009 8:43 AM Posted by Mike P.

More brilliant "reporting" from the wire services. Early this morning I noticed a Reuters story claiming that Elad had turned to Sheldon Adelson for help getting the Plaza project off the ground. A couple hours later I clicked on the link again, and the story was on update 2, with headline "IDB denies Adelson partnership on Las Vegas project". Here's a link if anyone wants to follow the corrections:

January 7, 2009 2:52 AM Posted by Anthony

A few details about the Harmon and a correction made at Veer.

January 7, 2009 3:56 AM Posted by mike_ch

City Center update: This morning's Sun says the Harmon has flaws on 14 floors and may have it's height reduced due to problems. They're mulling over whether to essentially stop where they are and scrap all the condos.

January 7, 2009 6:41 AM Posted by detroit1051

The Harmon issue is amazing. How can these things happen in the 21st century at a project that MGM itself touts as "destined to be one of the great urban places in the world."
The Sun mentioned the slow condo market as possibly factoring into a decision to eliminate the top 21 condo floors, but Harmon's condos were planned to make CityCenter THE place for young, affluent people. If the project is capped, it could change the dynamics of the entire CityCenter project.
When the story says the building is sound,, but winds and/or earthquakes could affect its stability, how will that affect decisions to stay at the property even in the hotel portion? For years, car buyers have been leery of GM products because of the perceived (but mostly incorrect) inferior quality image. Can that kind of negative perception also affect MGM Mirage, or would the fact that hotel customers are transient minimize any lasting negative effect? Imo, the condos are dead even if the market improves and the structural issues resolved. Buyers would likely go elsewhere.
MGM has its work cut out for it. I don't envy Alan Feldman in his position as spokesman.

January 7, 2009 6:44 AM Posted by socalduck

With regards to Harmon, this was released this morning, which confirms the cancellation of the condo component:

MGM Mirage-MGM's CityCenter announces scope changes
CityCenter Holdings, LLC, a joint venture between MGM MIRAGE and Infinity World Development Corp, announced certain scope changes related to The Harmon Hotel & Spa which include postponing the opening of the hotel to late 2010 and cancelling The Harmon residential condominium component. With the cancellation of The Harmon residential component as well as other additional cost savings the company now anticipates total cost savings of approximately $600 million up from its previously stated $400 million. In addition, by postponing The Harmon Hotel by one year CityCenter will defer approximately $200 million in construction costs to complete the interior fit out of The Harmon. All other components of CityCenter remain on schedule for a December 2009 grand opening.

January 7, 2009 6:47 AM Posted by Anthony

Harmon hotel postponed until 2010 and the residences canceled.

January 7, 2009 7:06 AM Posted by Brian Fey

The rumors are true. Harmon at CC will be cut off at the knees. This is sad, as its the coolest building of the bunch with what would have been one of the best views of the strip.

January 7, 2009 9:23 AM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, we have a post on the main page about this for the past few hours.

Harmon comments are better left there.

January 7, 2009 2:21 PM Posted by detroit1051

I'm recording a documentary on LeCirque on HBO now. It will be repeated many times this month. I'm sure it will include the outposts at Bellagio.
Although I haven't been there in two years, I always had dinner at Bellagio's LeCirque, either in the dining room with friends or at the bar by myself. The meals were always excellent, and the staff was attentive.. Steve Wynn did make some mistakes with the room. He may have wanted an intimate space, but it is just too small with tables too close together. Regardless, it is worth a visit. Steve Wynn always seemed to have a personal relationship with his restaurateurs. I wonder how the Maccione family relates to MGM Mirage's corporate environment. Circo was a great place for lunch with its windows overlooking the fountains, but MGM ended its lunch hours shortly after acquiring Bellagio. That surprised me because Terry Lanni often had business lunches there. Will Maccione have a restaurant at Aria?

N.B.: It didn't focus on Las Vegas, but it is a fascinating 75 minutes of television.

January 7, 2009 5:23 PM Posted by John H.

Detroit, from what I have heard the Maccioni family will open Sirio's at Aria. It will be one of many nearly identical--JG Steakhouse (Jean-Georges), Julian Serrano, and American Fish (Michael Mina)--copies taken from Bellagio and reproduced at Aria.

January 12, 2009 12:34 PM Posted by Brian Fey

You have to wonder as gaming becomes much easier to find throughout Asia how Macau will fair in the distant future.

January 17, 2009 4:35 AM Posted by detroit1051

Business Week has a positive article on Gamal Aziz and his maintaining "employee engagement" at MGM Grand during these tough times.

March 19, 2009 7:49 AM Posted by detroit1051

LV Sun has a positive article on The Mansion at MGM Grand. I'm sure MGM either initiated this coverage or, at the least, supported the story. How is The Mansion doing during the recession?

March 19, 2009 3:54 PM Posted by TC from Boston

The mansion is a place I want to know much much more about. Not so much the clientale but the services people to they actually get into and out of the main casino floor of the MGM. Or is it all in house? Also I want to know if they keep it whales only, or like when Britney Spears is in town does she get a villa in there or a sky is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

March 20, 2009 12:10 AM Posted by Mike E

TC, not sure if The Mansion is as mysterious as it used to be (what with all the YouTube videos of it floating around). You can call MGM and simply ask to reserve one and they'll go over the villas, benefits, etc. without skipping a beat; you can almost tell that they do (or at least used to) get their fair share of cash-paying customers. Prices start at $5K per night.

There are two entrances that I know of. One is through an unmarked hallway in The Mansion casino (MGM's high limit room) where you'll be greeted by a security guard at the end. The other is right off the strip near the West Wing entrance.

Several years ago, I read one review (don't remember where) of a guy who said that after he booked one, he got a call from MGM asking to speak with his in-house help about his living habits. He said he didn't employ any butlers or personal chefs, but that gives you an idea of the kind of service these people are used to. The review went on to say that when he arrived, the bellhops took the luggage from the limo and by the time his butler was done giving him a tour of his villa, he opened his walk-in closet to see his clothes already hanging in there. Very transparent service.

March 20, 2009 4:04 PM Posted by mike_ch

I think the "mystery" was always just marketing, not something of actual worth. They'll charge what the market will bear based on what it offers, but simply not talking it over the basic 800 line doesn't really equate with higher rates, it just brought affluent people to a hotel they might not normally associate with affluence.

Now that the affluent people know of the Mansion, there's any reason to pretend it's a secret.

March 20, 2009 8:22 PM Posted by TC from Boston

I think what I am just trying to get at is that the Mansion is so in your face as a regular guest (it can be seen from a good portion of the hotel and a portion of the street) it does nothing but bring intrigue to a regular joes mind..."what is that sexyness and why can't i get some lets go try to find what it is...wait a minute where is that place?"..... I don't think there is another high roller area that is as "in your face" as that...only one I can think that comes close are the entrances and what glimpses you can get from the golf course of the fairway villas at WLV.