Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

February 14, 2007

MGM MIRAGE Reports 4th Quarter Profit Doubles

Posted by Hunter

MGM MIRAGE reported another blowout quarter, with Q4 profits doubling from last year. Quarterly revenues are up to $2.02 billion with almost $90 million coming from insurance recovery against Katrina losses.

These numbers were way above what analysts had predicted.

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Read archived comments (62 so far)
February 14, 2007 9:31 AM Posted by mike_ch

I can't wait to see the full details. Bellagio should have seen a very nice bump with that incredible Christmas crowd.

February 14, 2007 9:36 AM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, thankfully MGM MIRAGE usually breaks things out by property.

I caught the tail end of the conference call but I'll go back and listen to the beginning again in a bit.

February 14, 2007 11:35 AM Posted by detroit1051

The Conference Call is very informative. It's worth an hour's time. If it wasn't clear before, it sure is now that MGM is changing into a major real estate development company. MGM's calls are always professional and well done. At least we had confirmation today that Bellagio's main tower suites will be renovated this year, and that a new high limit room will be built. I'm assuming it's to replace the high limit slot room, and my guess is it will be moved to the square area with slots on the same wall as Club Prive, heading toward the room elevators. I also thought the comments on Excalibur's room renovations were interesting. They haven't been renovated since it opened in 1990, and MGM is doing a pilot with I think they said 25% of the rooms to see how high-end they can push the property and still stay in the mid-market range. MGM sure knows how to increase RevPAR. The Mandarin condos in CityCenter are selling at $1,580 per sq ft. There sure must be a lot people with big money.
Hunter, unfortunately MGM stopped breaking out Strip properties.
The replay of the call can be heard on the website:

February 14, 2007 11:38 AM Posted by Hunter

Some notes from the call:

Mandalay Bay's rooms are being remodeled - about 1,000 rooms are done and the balance will be completed by July. They have a new 'Gold Class' distinction for the guest rooms.

Excalibur's rooms are being remodeled for the first time since the place opened and they sound pretty excited about the prospects of the new room features.

Bellagio's suites will finally be fully remodeled - the first time since the property opened. The high limit slot area will be redone as well.

Planning for The Mirage's renovation is underway.

Beau Rivage is now back to normal.

City Center construction is underway in all areas of the site. The main hotel is up to the 7th floor. The project is on budget and schedule.

Overall, the call was very interesting, especially if you're into the numbers.

February 14, 2007 12:26 PM Posted by Pikes

"Planning for The Mirage's renovation is underway."

What's left for them to ruin?

February 14, 2007 1:10 PM Posted by Hunter

It's just room and suite renovations.

February 14, 2007 2:12 PM Posted by Mike E

If MGM Mirage did something Skyloftesque with The Mirage, that would really be something--rooms and services of Skylofts in a casino I love.

February 14, 2007 5:47 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Pikes - Your comment about the Mirage is halarious. Sad, but you nailed it, so true. I do think Love was a great addition though. But the rest of the changes I could do without, especially the main casino area itself.

February 14, 2007 6:57 PM Posted by Brett

I found some pics of the remodeled gold class rooms at Mandalay Bay. Looks like they have a deluxe (500), an executive suite (750), and a parlor suite (1500).

February 14, 2007 6:59 PM Posted by Brett

Oh yeah... the link might help!

February 14, 2007 7:43 PM Posted by Pikes


I was a fan of the Mirage for years, I knew it was going to go down hill when I saw what they did to the Lagoon Bar, which became Ava, and the original bridge in the rainforest.

The casino is bland and don't even get me started on what they did to the lobby.

February 14, 2007 8:01 PM Posted by Mike E

All of Mandalay's rooms need to look like the Gold Class rooms. Are there any extra perks? Is it on some kind of concierge level or something? I don't really like the d�cor, but it's definitely a step up from the Motel 6 look they had before.

February 14, 2007 8:30 PM Posted by josh

Have there been any photos of the Mandalay renovated rooms or models of the new Excalibar rooms?
Will the Mirage renovation possibly include an additional tower?

February 14, 2007 8:50 PM Posted by Hunter

I think the chances of a new tower are pretty slim - they were talking about cap-ex for the next few quarters and they outlined $3 billion that was about 80% CityCenter, some MGM Detroit and then the balance was about $600 MM in room renovations... A new tower at The Mirage would be a couple hundred million bucks at the minimum - I would have expected an announcement ahead of earnings or perhaps today if they were gonna do it.

MB has those 'Gold Room' pix on the site but its not clear if that represents renovated rooms or a slightly upper class standard room.

No shots of Excalibur on the MGM MIRAGE PR Web site - I just checked. I have a call in to someone over there for more info.

February 15, 2007 5:01 AM Posted by detroit1051

Others here have mentioned the construction at Monte Carlo's entrance. Today's RJ has a photo. The caption says the entrance is being moved closer to the Strip. What are they doing? Will a club be part of the Strip entrance om the left side covered by black tarps?

February 15, 2007 8:11 AM Posted by Jason Robar

The construction that the RJ shows is for a restaurant/club called the Diablo's Canista. The barricades that keep everybody from the construction actually show a rendition of the restaurant and the name. Here's a link to the rendition (I apologize about the quality - it's from a cellphone camera):

It's supposed to be open in Fall 2007.


February 15, 2007 11:44 AM Posted by mike_ch

I'm going to disagree with the other Mike and say that the Gold Room pictures are a step down to me. They're undeniably better than the standard room, but I don't like their "look" and decorating.

While MBay needs to do something with their rooms, it looks like they hired the same decorator that the Venetian used.

February 15, 2007 3:22 PM Posted by motoman

Hey Jason Robar, thanks for the pic and details! Monte Carlo used to advertise that it was "set back" from the Strip, as if that gave exclusivity. Guess they got tired of tourists passing it by, as we have done more than once. (As detriot noted, MGM sure knows how to crank up the money machine.)

Noticed some heavy construction in front of Aladdin/PH in your next pic, any comment?

February 15, 2007 3:48 PM Posted by KY

Leonard Stern said in the Wynn golf course comments that Monte Carlo would be gone once CityCenter opens, and I thought I had read that speculation elsewhere on here, too. Does this new work make tham seem any less likely? I know nothing's forever on the Strip, but would MGM add on to something it was planning to demolish?

February 15, 2007 6:29 PM Posted by Brian Fey

MC isn't going anywhere. Leonard is day dreaming again.

February 15, 2007 8:43 PM Posted by MGK

While I don't see the Monte Carlo being imploded anytime in the near future, I could imagine MGM Mirage spending money on something there going to get rid of. For example, look at the temporary sales office (between NYNY and Monte Carlo) and other temporary building for Project City Center. They spent over $44 million to build and they're just going to demolish them for future phases of Project City Center.

February 15, 2007 10:04 PM Posted by Jason Robar

Thanks motoman for the kind words. I'll admit that I took the picture more to amuse myself. The caption should be "Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, proud host of the Miss America pageant!" (I was there on Miss America weekend.)

Brian Fey actually has a better shot of the Aladdin construction in his pictures (go to page 2):

(Hopefully Brian doesn't mind the link. :)

My guess is that it is just part of the conversion from Aladdin to PH, and once it is done, they will move onto the next section and remove the rock facade. But that is a completely uninformed guess with no actual information to back it up.

I can add a small bit to the Excalibur room renovation though. Currently, they are working on Tower 2 rooms (at Check-in, they were letting everybody know that there was construction and if they wanted to be checked into Tower 1, they would accomodate them). I guess they will move on to Tower 1 after Tower 2 is done.

Another random note about Octane. It is one confused wannabe ultra-lounge. They have the motorcycles surrounding the outside of the lounge, the inside has that metallic tough look, and the waitresses wear short leather skirts and other attire associated with biker babes. But on the weekend, they have a typical lounge act, which doesn't come close to matching the mood that the layout gives. It was pretty busy whenever I went by though, so I guess this doesn't matter in the long run.


February 16, 2007 8:36 AM Posted by detroit1051

Jason, thanks for the information and for the link to Brian Fey's photos. I'm amazed by the progress on Palazzo since I was last in Vegas in November. Brian, your photos are excellent.
Does anyone know whether room renovation has started in the main Venetian tower? Last fall, in a conference call, Bill Weidner said room renovation would be completed to coincide with Palazzo's opening so that standard rooms would be comparable regardless of Venetian or Palazzo. He indicated they would be much more contemporary than the current faux European look of today.

February 16, 2007 4:09 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hey Brian: I can absolutely, positively guarantee for certain that the Monte Carlo property will be demolished + eventually be melded into the future expansion of CityCenter once the construction of the existing properties are complete by the end of 2009. I have personally seen several future proposed masterplan schemes for the next stages(s) of CityCenter (there are many concepts actually) + NONE of them include the existing Monte Carlo property! The alterations that MGM/MIRAGE are currently making in order to provide better accessibility to the property by being closer to the Strip frontage, represent mere peanuts to MGM as far as financial investment is concerned. As MGK correctly pointed out, they just spent $50M on the marketing pavillion/construction/design + project administration offices fo CC which will be promptly demolished once the current phase is completed in order to make room for future expansion site area. Brian, my good buddy, if this were a legal online wagering site, I would be willing to bet you any number you wish + we'll both put the money in escrow until 2009! How 'bout it? The only one "daydreaming" here is you because you're just blowing smoke as usual. If I were permitted to share/reveal sensititive future design plans that I have had the opportunity of having seen, we could establish right now proof that my comments are based on absolute fact + not speculation as you assert. How about $10 large placed in an escrow account if Monte Carlo is NOT imploded before the end of 2009?

February 16, 2007 6:36 PM Posted by John

Leonard, I can't help but agree with you that Monte Carlo needs to go. Even Steve probably knew that the resort wouldn't be in business any longer than fifteen years when he went partnered with Circus Circus Enterprises to build the resort. The one thing that angers me about the property is the fact that people think Steve Wynn had a large amount of influence in the design and planning stages of the resort, which he was in no way associated with. The man had a huge amount of land (City Center) and he needed to use of some of it to make a little quick cash. However, Steve probably had plans that included the demolition of that resort for future development, but we all know what happened there.

My question, though, at this moment is still when Wynn Resorts are going to release their earnings? Every other company has either announced them, or has announced the date on which the earnings will be released, aside from Wynn. Through all of this, I can't help but think that for every day we don't hear an announcement from the company is another nail in the "quarter loss coffin". Honestly, I don't understand why we haven't seen an announcement from the company, I don't understand why they are waiting.

February 16, 2007 7:04 PM Posted by Hunter

I don't mean to be a detail nazi but the company that Mirage Resorts did the joint venture with for the Monte Carlo was Gold Strike Resorts, not Circus Circus Enterprises.

At that point, Schaeffer and Ensign had been driven from CCE by Bennett and they formed Gold Strike, later purchased by CCE to bring them back into the fold.

February 16, 2007 7:16 PM Posted by John

See, that just shows how much I don't know about Circus Circus Enterprises.

February 17, 2007 5:41 AM Posted by BrianFey

Leonard, I would place a small wager, but I wouldn't bet $10k on anything in life. I do think MC could go at some point, but not in the next 5 years. But I suppose its possible. MGM owns so much empty land, it would make no sense to take out MC this soon. MC has to make more money than Excalibur, and its still standing. Why not take out CC before you take out MC? I say no way the MC is gone by 2009. We'll see I guess.

John, - Wynn likes to be last, for the last several quarters they have waited until all the others have reported, and they have then followed. I was surprised to see they have already set the date for their annual shareholder meeting. Its either May 7th or 8th, I don't have it with me.

February 17, 2007 10:19 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

John: You are correct that Wynn had no direct input in the hideous design + planning for the Monte Carlo but did a 50/50 joint venture deal in order to better ulilize the property + realize actual operations income from all of that undeveloped site area. Remember, at that particular time, the per acre value for center-Strip property was a mere fraction of what it has ballooned to today @ $20M/acre. WYNN has recently extended their 2006 Q4 Earnings Release Report until as late as March 8th. (could happen as early as February 26th, but not likely) The stock has been experiencing a continual share price downward decline recently + already has given back 13 points from its recent 52 week high of 114.

February 17, 2007 6:45 PM Posted by mike_ch

It can go either way. If MGM really wants to push their luck with the condo market, Monte Carlo is obviously a better teardown choice than Bellagio. On the other hand, I can see MC sticking around with a major refurb since it's a decent but affordable place next to CityCenter.

The real deal-breaker is that condos aren't casinos, and shutting down MC and building condos would be one less casino in their arsenal. So unless these plans Leonard has claimed to witness would include a second casino (and whether or not he of course wouldn't say) I doubt they're going to happen.

February 17, 2007 7:31 PM Posted by detroit1051

Monte Carlo's new entrance and restaurant are on the agenda of the February 20th Clark Co. Planning Meeting. I don't care for the colors, orange, brown and green. If I were in town, I'd sit in on the meeting:

February 18, 2007 5:23 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

mike_ch: Evidently Hunter has not not yet had a chance to post my earlier response to John's comments. At any rate, if you think that CityCenter will not only be able to substantially fund/recoup a major portion of its total construction cost (by selling participatory condo/hotel investment properties, sans gaming operations), think again, maybe you need to be brought up to speed on the current CityCenter state of pre-sales already set to go to 'hard contract' in only a few months:

The fact that major developers like Related Cos. have abandonded the Las Vegas market permanently + considering the instability of the future of the luxury high rise condo market here has only served to become a virtual windfall for MGM/MIRAGE by the time these project(s) are completed at the end of 2009! They [MGM/MIRAGE] are sitting in the driver's seat at this point + I can assure you that, due to the massive scope of CityCenter as a whole, they will ultimately be in the position to demolish the (currently not highly profitable) Monte Carlo in favor of multiple high-rise condo/hotels WITHOUT having to incorporate any new gaming venues in order to make fiscal sense. BTW - John, WYNN has EXTENDED their 2006 Q4 Earnings Results Report until as late as March 8th. They could report as early as February 26th, however, I am told that this is not likely to occur. WYNN shares have been on a downward spiral over the past few weeks having given back 13 points since the recent YTD high of 114.

February 18, 2007 8:39 PM Posted by mike_ch

Leonard, my point is that casinos more than pay for themselves. It wouldn't make any sense for MGM to reduce themselves by one casino, even if they could fiscally get away with it.

I'm not saying that bulldozing MC isn't on the table, I'm saying bulldozing MC and building something with no casino is feasible yet still unlikely all the same. Sheldon understands it, Steve understands it, and I'm sure Kirk understands it as well.

February 18, 2007 10:11 PM Posted by Chris

Condo development is based on one-time profit opportunities. Once you build your condos and sell them, you're done. You take your profits and reinvest them in something else, maybe making a dribbling income off of a condotel management contract.

I know MGM Mirage is trying to diversify out of the gaming business, but I doubt they are going to go into pure real estate any time soon.

IMO - Selling condos at CityCenter was nothing more than creative financing for MGM to raise capital to develop the real profit engines at CityCenter, casino/F&B/entertainment/spa/retail. Once those businesses are up and running, they will have no need to sell more condo units.

I'm sure if Wynn was building condos, Leonard would spin the failure of Related Cos. and others as proof that Wynn would fail as well - but when it's Wynn's competitors and trendy architects, those failures suddenly become proof of guaranteed success. (and if you're going to bring up stock prices in every post, it's worth mentioning that LVS has recently dropped even further and faster than WYNN has).

I'm still a little wary of CityCenter - has anyone else given thought to the fact that CityCenter is the first time MGM has actually BUILT something since NY-NY? Let's hope they still have people on board from Mirage and Mandalay that have had experience in something more than just remodeling someone else's interior design. They may have subcontracted all the architecture and construction, but they still have to pull off the real estate portion without the help of Turnberry, and then get the place staffed and open and running on their own.

detroit - that new color scheme at Monte Carlo is specifically for Light Group's new restaurant Diablo's Cantina (MGM's answer to Margaritaville). Artist renderings can be seen at under "Gallery". My understanding is that, while it is technically part of Monte Carlo's infrastructure and budget, it is going be marketed as a standalone restaurant on the strip.

February 19, 2007 5:52 AM Posted by detroit1051

Chris, thanks for the link to Diablo's site. Even if I were in a position to buy a multi-million dollar condo in Vegas, I wouldn't want it to overlook a crappy looking place like Diablo's. I'd be out at Queensridge or somewhere else in Summerlin, Southern Highlands or Green Valley.

February 19, 2007 8:48 AM Posted by John

Chris, I've been arguing your exact point, regarding MGM's lack of new hotel construction, since I heard of City Center. However, they really didn't have an impact on the design of NYNY (it was a 50/50 joint venture with Primadonna Resorts). However, after the resort opened MGM purchased Primadonna Resorts giving them full ownership in NYNY (similar to what eventually happened with Monte Carlo). However, I think MGM has learned enough from Bellagio and even Wynn that they can carry out a fairly well-designed resort. I am excited to see what they come up with but I'm filled with even more anticipation to see what LVS has up their sleeves for Palazzo. Remember, they haven't opened a full-fleged resort since the Venetian, itself. However, I do hope they have learned that a convention center and rooms with a step-down living room, don't make a five star resort. I'm really hoping that the casino, etc. can really live up to their Beverly Hills-esque hype.

February 19, 2007 10:46 AM Posted by mike_ch

My point was that to maximize the value of a condo development, you need a hook that brings people to it. CityCenter, well, phase one anyway, is being built with a tremendous hook so of course it's doing quite well.

People don't buy residency on the strip because they just want somewhere to live, they do it because of the attraction of the Strip. And that's basically casino resorts. And I don't see what a bunch of condos sitting almost isolated off in the Monte Carlo area have to offer.

The other developers are playing it smart. Adelson put all his design effort into the actual resort and then announced a condo tower on top of a shopping boutique almost as if it was some kind of an afterthought or something. Wynn has mulled condos on the golf course, but is putting his development into furthering hotel/casino development first. If he ever does build condos, he'll already have a hook.

February 19, 2007 12:00 PM Posted by Mike P.

From chris:

"I'm still a little wary of CityCenter - has anyone else given thought to the fact that CityCenter is the first time MGM has actually BUILT something since NY-NY?"

I wonder why people keep raising this point? It's not MGM pouring the concrete after all. Perini is the lead contractor and they have plenty of experience with this kind of project. I have no doubt at all the project will be completed successfully -- maybe even on time judging from early progress on the main hotel.

"IMO - Selling condos at CityCenter was nothing more than creative financing for MGM to raise capital to develop the real profit engines at CityCenter, casino/F&B/entertainment/spa/retail."

MGM has been pretty upfront that condo presales are being used to raise a large percentage of the capital they need. There's nothing too unusual about that.

What I'm wary of is that MGM and real estate agents can't legally make any kind of representations about possible investment returns on a condo or condo hotel unit.

We had some preliminary discussions with an agent about Vdara, but they're asking for an immediate $10K refundable deposit to get on the "VIP" list with a quick decision required to sign a contract and a $200K deposit when floor plans and pricing are announced as early as the next month or so. If we had a couple hundred $K in pocket change lying around we'd probably jump at it, but it's really hard to justify investing in a million dollar part time second home without having some idea of the cash flow we might expect from rentals.

Anyone out there know how Signature is doing? My understanding is investors in tower 1 have been somewhat disappointed in occupancy rates so far.

Mike P.

February 19, 2007 2:23 PM Posted by John

Mike, I don't think the argument is in regards to Perini's ability to effectively complete CityCenter on time, and within budget. The argument is really about the fact that MGM Mirage, hasn't independently commissioned the design and construction of a standalone resort since the MGM Grand. Honestly, I have no doubt that Pernin can pull off a project of this scope. However, I have had fears that MGM's design group, the same folks who gave us Dishes at TI among others, may have trouble designing a Wynn/Bellagio-caliber resort. More to the point, MGM has hired, in my opinion, one of the worst interior designers on the face of this earth, Adam Tihany. After seeing Cravings and Kokomo's, both at the Mirage, I have fears that The Harmon, a resort that he has full interior design control over, will turn out to be one of the more hideous hotels in CityCenter. On the other hand, I am a fan of the Rockwell Group and I really can't wait to see what they have up their sleeve with the retail component of the development.

February 19, 2007 7:24 PM Posted by Tom M

I think the building of condos on strip front property is incredibly short sighted and a big mistake. This is the premier gambling location in the world and there is very little strip land left to develop. By building condos, MGM has essentially permanently carved out a large chunk of strip front property that can never be reused or changed. Taking a long term view, I think that the property is too valuable to waste on non-revenue producing products such as condos.

February 19, 2007 7:59 PM Posted by mike_ch

How is Dishes at all related to MGM's ability to build an entire resort from the ground up?

Really, John, there's so many better examples you could have used. Like Cravings. ;)

February 19, 2007 8:12 PM Posted by Mike P.

Ah, how could I miss the subtext? Of course, anything that "Steve" does is a brilliant work of unparalleled creative genius. Everything else in Vegas is crap.

Obviously the whole city center project is doomed!

Mike P.

February 19, 2007 9:18 PM Posted by John

I don't blame Cravings on MGM Mirage Design Group. I consider Adam Tihany responsible for that mess. However, my main argument is that MGM's in-house design firm has been responsible for rooms, like Dishes, and I'm cautious when I hear that MGM is designing a full-scale resort/casino, using their in-house team.

February 19, 2007 10:21 PM Posted by Chris

I wasn't even thinking about the design/construction phase when I wondered about MGM's ability to pull off CityCenter - Perini and the all-star architect team can handle that part for them. My concern begins when Perini is all done and hands the keys over.

The hiring alone will be a challenge (, and even beyond that - it will be a huge logistical nightmare to get everything to open simultaneously and running smoothly from day one. Remember when Venetian "opened" in 1999 but had to send all the VIP invited guests to other hotels? ( A stumble like that could put CityCenter behind predictions for the first few quarters at least.

February 20, 2007 11:34 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Chris, BTW, MGM [themselves] had NOTHING whatsoever to do with the actual design + construction in the development of NY/NY in the first place (John is 100% correct on this). As far as CityCenter is concerned, Perini is probably the premier GC in the country right now in terms of on-time completion + consistently coming in on budget. From what I understand, they are currently AHEAD of schedule on the Pelli tower + foundation work on several of the other towers as well. Work continues on a 24/7 basis + they will have well over 7,000 workers on the site by early next year. Gaming revenue extracted from a multi-use massive project the size + scope of CityCenter is anticipated to generate a 50/50 split as far as overall gaming earnings are concerned. In today's world of mega-resort projects, condo-hotel or several high rise condo components for private ownership are not "creative" financing but an actual necessity in order to supplement the astronomical construction + development costs (think Echelon, etc.). In the case of CityCenter, the sale of the condo, condo/hotel components are expected to exceed $2.7B! Even when your talking a total project construction cost of at least $7B (actually I understand that the final cost will be closer to $7.5B) this is a significant contribution. The day of the single purpose mega-resort casino hotel are long gone. Secondly, MGM decided early on to do something that no other operator had attempted before, due to the massive undertaking + size of the project, they retained the largest, most diverse architectural frim in the country, Gensler, at great expense, for the sole purpose to serve as Executive Architect + thus coordinate/oversee all of those individual egos associated with so many contributing "starchitects" by successfully melding this world-class talent into a single cohesive project, not to mention the construction coordination involved with building complex multi-high rises all in a single, fast-track phase. An immense undertaking to say the least! IMO, Gensler has one of the toughest tasks of all when considering their responsibilities. Mike, Adelson's decision to add the condo tower at Palazzo was NOT an afterthought, but was planned originally + the final go ahead was dependent on the current [condo] market conditions. Related Cos. decision to pull out of Las Vegas will only guarantee the demand for quick absorption for the high-end strip condo tower product. Brian, Circus Circus will definately go as well but not before they reduce Excalibur to dust. The location of Excalibur is just too valuable not to redevelop it as opposed to Circus Circus. The proposed (rumored) order for projected demolition of existing MGM/MIRAGE properties will most likely be; Monte Carlo, Excalibur, + then Circus Circus. BTW, Chris, Wynn has never built a condo tower himself (he is a JV partner only in Park Towers at Hughes Center, Molasky was totally responsible for design + construction development of that project). Don't expect much from Wynn on the remaining WLV site in terms of high rise condo development, despite all of the rumors, until after CityCenter + possibly even Echelon are complete. Besides, Steve will just repeat the same mistakes of the past + have his in-house design team, i.e. Butler + Thomas, create another substandard pile of the same-old [Wynn] repetitive, uninspired crap. Steve has a whole lot of "catching up" to do in order to hold his own from a future competitive design perspective. I don't know Brian, it certainly looks like MGM stock is performing well + far less volatile than WYNN, with Q4 profits being DOUBLE what it was last year! I'm waiting for another 2 for 1 stock split. :-)

February 20, 2007 4:04 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Brian, Sorry, my previous lengthy, diatribe response(s) unfortunately failed to address my proposed wager offer with you regarding the future "demise" of the existing Monte Carlo. I am authorizing Hunter to provide you with my personal contact information, should you desire to stand by your assertions and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is in connetion with this matter + contact me.

Here are the facts, which I continue to stand by, on or before (in approximately 34 months from the present which respresents the anticipated final completion date for CityCenter which is already evidenced by the progress of (the planned towers + site development) currently under construction, identified as multiple "Phase One", that MGM/MIRAGE will either:

1) Officially announce [their] intention to implode the entire existing building(s) which are currently contained within the site/property comprised by the Monte Carlo Casino + Resort, for the purposes of developing future additions + expansion of the project CityCenter masterplan. Remember that all of the buildings currently under constuction + their associated site development, all 18+ million s.f., are still considered to be "Phase One" contained within a mere 66 acres! The value of adjacent land AFTER CityCenter is completed will more than double in value (say goodbye to the Jockey Club!), that includes Bellagio, however, MGM has no intention of ever imploding Bellagio anytime in the near future AFTER CityCenter is completed. Fortunately, Cosmo will represent the same level of design sophistication as CityCenter + will serve to be an 'integral' property (albeit competitive) due to the fact that it is designed by Architectonica (who are clearly on the same level as CityCenter's world-class designers) + its immediate proximity to CityCenter.

2) MGM/MIRAGE will have already begun preparation for the demolition of the existing Monte Carlo + related existing site development in order to continue to pursue future expansion projects consistent with the level of sophistication of the [completed] buildings which have already become part and parcel of the intended level of CityCenter in order to provide much needed expansion site area in order to complete their ultimate masterplan land for CityCenter. FYI - this 18 million s.f. mega development is only the beginning...think about it, Monte Carlo occupies a strategic location + a major, integral chunk or prime real estate that is ripe for MGM's expansion plans. Monte Carlo is not only outdated, it represents one of the ugliest towers on the Strip! Anyways, let's personally discuss our wager privately + I promise to never embarrass you publicly when I turn out to be right usual.

February 20, 2007 4:29 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I heard CC is coming down by 2010. If that is right, there is no way MGM is taking down MC, Excal, and CC in the next 3 years. NO WAY!!! If the Strip keeps moving north, It would make more sense to take out CC before Excal. MGM stock has done well, I am glad as I am a shareholder. We'll see how Wynn's numbers look, and then we can chat. If they are good, I can't wait to see how you spin them to make them look bad. You truly hate Wynn don't you?

February 21, 2007 10:52 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Brian, trust me on this one, Monte Carlo will be reduced to dust well BEFORE Circus Circus will in order to complete the long-term expansion of CityCenter. The revenue stream created by the [then] completed CityCenter project, combined with the fact that HET will now not likely be developing their proposed center-Strip mega project + are going to end up having to sell off undeveloped assets like crazy in order to reduce their debt load from the highly leveraged buyout, as a result of the company going private, only makes the CityCenter location ever more valuable on a per acre basis. Monte Carlo has not been a particularly successful revenue earner + will decline even further after Cosmo + CityCenter are launched. They [MGM] will be in desperate need of additional site development area in order to maximize revenue on par with the adjacent project's high-end attraction when completed. I've seen several of the f*cking proposed CityCenter masterpan schemes for myself + the intended timeline for construction, for Christ's sake! Since you brought up the topic, no, I don't "hate" Steve, I loathe that narcissistic megalomaniac + find him to be the most repugnant developer/operator on the planet. I have personally worked with the most respected commercial real estate developers in the entire world during my career + Steve is without a doubt, IMO, not only a disgrace to the gaming industry as a whole, but he represents nothing more than a common bully of the little people who seems to get sadistic pleasure by destroying innocent people's lives using his vast financial resources to do so. He most likely suffers from Sadistic Personality Disorder in addition to his many other apparent behavioral flaws. Does that adequately answer your question Brian?

February 21, 2007 11:02 AM Posted by Hunter

Regarding Monte Carlo's profitability, how are we measuring its success?

While I don't have any doubt that MGM MIRAGE would level it to expand CC, especially if you've seen project documents that assert that, I would argue that perhaps MC has done okay, for what it is.

On a return on investment basis, it seems Monte Carlo actually has a fairly high percentage based on some back of the envelope calculations. The construction cost was low and while obviously not a star performer, the place has always made money...

Not that I have any interest in 'defending' Monte Carlo. I think the place is horrible looking - a total hack rush job.

February 21, 2007 11:20 AM Posted by John

Does anyone else find it interesting that there has only been mention of the imminent implosions of former CCE or Gold Strike Resorts properties? There has never been mention of leveling the Mirage or MGM. Is it just the fact that properties like Circus Circus, Excalibur, and Monte Carlo are just poorly designed and constructed resorts, or is it something different (almost a corporate vendetta to take down a former competitor's properties)?

Leonard, I know we are all arguing over MC's possible, or imminent, implosion, but didn't you say there was once a possibility that MGM could level TI in order to expand the Mirage into a much larger, intergrated complex? I find myself wondering, at times, if this would turn out to be a "good" idea. TI, in its current form, is a bit of a disgrace in my eyes and I'm wondering if MGM could create a much larger and more luxurious resort, by building a new Mirage expansion resort on the land that TI and the valet structure occupy.

February 21, 2007 11:23 AM Posted by Hunter

Honestly, I think it's more of a factor of the location of these places - Circus Circus is a low end resort on a section of the Strip going upscale and Monte Carlo is a unremarkable property sitting next to the future of MGM MIRAGE.

I think that if TI was in MC's place, while they might have spent more time thinking about it, they would probably still level it.

Personally, I don't think TI is going anywhere - they are happy with the increased numbers post renovation.

They HAVE mentioned several times that the valet garage that is between The Mirage and TI right on the Strip (near the scary S&R statue) is under-developed. They intend to do something higher density with that land, be it a Mirage condo tower, Mirage hotel tower, etc..

February 21, 2007 12:54 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

John, actually I think if I recall correctly based on my comments from quite some time ago, I had offered my own personal suggestion that it might have been more beneficial if MGM just demolished Treasure Island completely + started over from scratch, however, that obviously would not have been a wise financial decision on their part based on the occupany numbers + the fact that TI is essentially an adjacent, albeit a far less luxurious, "extension" of the Mirage. What MGM, was in fact able to successfully accomplish, was to transform that previous substandard themed property into a far more profitable, higher end venue, to the extent that it was possible, given the limited factors that they had to work with by incorporating minimum exterior upgrades to the actual tower other than a paint job (unfortunately). TI revenues have improved substantially with the introduction of Tangerine, Social House, etc. These venues are perfoming well above original expectations considering they are located within the former crummy Treasure Island. Hunter, the Monte Carlo will no longer be able to generate the consistent type of "middle-range" clientele that they enjoy today AFTER both Cosmo + CityCenter are completed simply based on location. The project will simply be totally out of place + outdated at that point. That land will become absolutely priceless once these mega-projects are finished + the only feasible decision would be to integrate it into a new projcet representing the same level of design sophistication of CityCenter, whether it be a residential tower(s) or yet another hotel/casino. Considering that MGM already owns the land, this is a no-brainer. Circus Circus is a low-tier property + MGM will wait to see how the north end of the strip developes before doing anything with that property. Already MAXIM is facing several hurdles, both with legal opposition from the Sky Las Vegas owners + the question of overbuilt density for this very small site. Actually Joel [Bergman] developed a fairly innovative design for that project, with its highly reflective chrome glazing + bright red accents, a definite departure from all of the GOLD reflective crap towers he is doing all over town. Also, I understand that there might be regulatory problems with licensing + suitibility issues regarding certain participatory owners of the project. Don't expect MAXIM to become a reality. Location, location, location is what it's all about + Monte Carlo (after CityCenter, Cosmo) are completed certainly will have that in spades. Regardless of future projects like Echelon, Montreux, Wynn, Fountainebleau, etc. anything north of Spring Mountain/Sands will NEVER be as valuable as center-Strip land on a per acre basis.

February 21, 2007 1:40 PM Posted by Hunter

Wynn Resorts will report their earnings on 2/27 and then have a call at 1:30pm PT the same day.

February 21, 2007 1:55 PM Posted by detroit1051

Who wrote this, Steve himself? Good Grief.
"Le Reve" theater environment will be completely remodeled with a warmer palate"
"The surroundings are soft and warm with rhythmic decorative flourishes inspired by Art Nouveau floral motifs that introduce elements of beauty and sophistication."

February 21, 2007 3:00 PM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, I posted the Le Reve thing to the front page earlier. Interesting.

February 21, 2007 9:36 PM Posted by charlie

If they only have a small dance floor on stage before or after the show, you now have the perfect confluence of the Ultra-Lounge and Cirque Show. TAKE THAT REVOLUTION LOUNGE.

WTF? If I could just get a table... at a 6/5 blackjack table, that served celebrity chef cuisine, with a $400 bottle of Grey Goose, with Beatles mash-ups and the occasion Cirque trick, I could enjoy the present day vegas in a 5' x 10' package.

Can we PLEASE get back to the basics? I roll of the dice, a stiff drink, a great steak, and a round of golf?

February 22, 2007 9:59 PM Posted by motoman

You know, the redecorating of Bellagio had to have been on MGM's watch, right? That and the forced remodeling of Beau Rivage gives me a lot more confidence now that they could pull it off.

Now I'm going to see my doctor after saying this, but Leonard is right about the Location, Location, Location of Monte Carlo. A future phase of PCC for sure. Circus will have to wait for the area to catch up, and anyway they pretty much own the low end and kid friendly for now.

(6/5 Blackjack, charlie are you kidding??)
(Oh wait. Of course you are....)

February 23, 2007 5:03 AM Posted by Pikes

Record profits by hiring illegal immigrants.

February 23, 2007 12:52 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hey Detroit: Just FYI - Steve's favorite expression which he has continued to use over + over again for many years now, whenever he is attempting to describe any new offering has always been "DELICIOUS EXPERIENCE"

I think that Steve should really consider copyrighting this like Trump tried to do with "You're Fired". LOL

February 24, 2007 1:24 PM Posted by Andy S

Glad I am not the only one who feels some of the Mirage changes have been for the worse, esp the lobby and cravings. I like the rooms so hope they dont change them too much, they could do with Sheraton type beds and a flat screen tv though.

Thanks for the info on Monte Carlo (I wondered what they were up to), like alot of MGM changes, I dont see how it will inegrate into the rest of the resort. Sure Leonard is right when he says it will go to make room for later phases of CC. Its not a very exciting resort, but there are much worse places to stay/gamble.

Leonard I have a few questions if you dont mind;

Is placing the main CC hotel/casino back from the strip a good idea?
When would you expect Excalibar to come down?
Why would Cosmopolition not to a deal with Jocky Club, so it could be demolished?
What do you make of the plans that have been released so far for the Trop?


February 24, 2007 2:23 PM Posted by Hunter

Well, I would think the issue with the Jockey Club is the same issue that MGM MIRAGE will have if they ever want to knock down part of City Center - condo ownership... Getting permission from every single owner is a lot more difficult if one or two hold out or aren't motivated by money to sell.

Everyone and their mother has tried to get the Jockey Club land back to when Bellagio was going up.

February 25, 2007 9:14 PM Posted by motoman

O.T. re: Hunter's comment about ownership:
Wanna see something funny? Go to, look up "Wynn Las Vegas."

At the third-to-highest magnification, Wynn Resort fills the screen in all its glory. Zoom up to the second-highest level, and the resort vanishes!

You see the dusty construction site with the outlines of the former buildings, and if you go across the golf course to Paradise Road you can see some of the houses that remained until the bitter end.