Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: April 2007

April 30, 2007

New Macau Photos Available - Construction Updates!

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Brian and everyone else that submitted this to me.

Just a quick post to direct people to some new photos posted at SkyScraper City that cover all the recent construction activity in Macau. Great to see these projects moving along, especially the hotel at the Sands - Sheldy quietly hedging his Cotai bet.

Also, Drambuie Man is back in Macau and will be sharing more photos when he returns - thanks again!

April 29, 2007

Wynn Macau Closes Tryst Nightclub

Posted by Hunter

An interesting tidbit in today's RJ indicates that Wynn Macau has closed it's Tryst nightclub. A sister to the popular venue in Las Vegas, Tryst Macau was smaller and had been deemed as an experiment of sorts.

Well - I guess the experiment failed as the space is being converted into private gaming.

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UNLV's Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies has released a report which says, "The marketing of sin that helps draws tourists to Las Vegas is an impediment in luring corporate headquarters to Southern Nevada....paints a pessimistic picture of Las Vegas' ability to recruit companies to Southern Nevada and diversify its economy beyond gaming."
The report is critical of some of the issues we've discussed here before, namely higher costs, unaffordable housing, poorly educated workforce, school system problems, lack of "cultural amenities", etc.
In Business Las Vegas summarized the report, but I've been unable to find a link to Lied's report itself. I'd like to read it in its entirety. I find the headline of the story a little over the top, using words like, "...image repels corporate relocation."

Do those here who either live in Las Vegas or frequently do business in Southern Nevada agree with the findings?

To read the article:
Report: Sin City Image Repels Corporate Relocation

April 26, 2007

MGM Mirage Makes Investment in Marnell's 'M Resort'

Posted by Hunter

MGM Mirage announced today that they will be investing $160MM in Anthony Marnell's South Strip (far South) project, the 'M Resort'.

Marnell previously built and operated the Rio and his company, Marnell Corrao, built The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas for Steve Wynn.

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The New York Times has an interesting article that covers the upcoming growth spurt in Las Vegas. A lot of general info for a mass audience but I did think the quote from Wynn indicating that this was the 'most over the top' expansion so far was interesting.

Is this a bigger game changer than milestones like the International, MGM Grand #1, The Mirage, and then Bellagio?

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Looks like billionaire Carl Ichan is selling off his casino assets, including the Stratosphere Tower, Arizona Charlie's (East and West) and a property in Laughlin.

Bloomberg has more on the deal, which is worth $1.3 billion. The buyer is a Goldman Sachs real estate investment subsidiary.

Update: More info here.

Thanks to for catching this one first.

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April 20, 2007

MGM Mirage's Project City Center Steaming Ahead

Posted by Hunter

MGM Mirage put out a press release today updating folks on City Center's progress.

I've heard a lot of chatter from insiders about the project and from all accounts it is coming along quite nicely - MGM Mirage executives are very pleased with their progress. Of course, recent photos show the main hotel is really taking shape.

There's also news on some budget changes to the project - nothing significant and entirely expected for a development in this stage and of this scope. MGM Mirage is also putting pressure on sub-contractors to reduce some project costs and budgets and without that, the price would have gone up more than they are indicating here.

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April 19, 2007

MGM Purchases North Strip Land Near Circus Circus

Posted by Hunter

So, that story we posted the other day from VT&T was true! MGM Mirage has indeed purchased the land surrounding Circus Circus to assemble a jumbo parcel that will certainly see re-development sometime in the future.

We previously discussed this here:

Unfortunately I don't have the facility to merge the topics in any sensible way.

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Here comes mike_ch's Las Vegas construction update April 2007. This one covers Paris, Planet Hollywood/Aladdin, Bellagio, City Center, NYNY, Excalibur, Mandalay Bay and Luxor.

Thanks again to him for providing this stuff.

Photos are located here:

There are also some new videos, located here:

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April 16, 2007

Venetian Macau Interior Construction Shots

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Brian Fey who pointed out this link that includes some interior shots of Venetian Macau, opening in just a few short months.

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Well, after years of transition, the failed 'new' Aladdin will be gone for good this week as OpBiz representatives welcome a converted Planet Hollywood to the world's most famous resort corridor. have taken to calling the place 'Planet Ho!' or 'P-Ho!', both of which I find quite appropriate, given the very high 'lameness quotient' of the property.

Will the place pull it off this time around? I can at least say that the changes they have made have improved their chances that things will be different this time around. The Strip frontage access has been improved and the huge video screens could be kind of interesting, depending on how they are used.

For years the Aladdin was a cheap room - a Center Strip room with below market prices as it struggled to keep its head above water. The rates are rising and that means that the casino and other amenities are going to have to carry the weight of those increased rates.

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A short set of quick updates.

The Silverton, Ed Roski's joint on the I-15 on the way into town, is plotting a massive (by Silverton standards) expansion with new, high-end hotel rooms along with shopping, casino and entertainment space. They hope to compete with Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch.

Next up is the Imperial Palace. A non-union shop for years, the Culinary is considering trying to organize there as it seems Harrah's may keep the place open longer than everyone expected:

Lastly, a story on an association of small, independent casino owners. I just thought this story was kinda interesting.

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April 12, 2007

Rumor: MGM Mirage Buying North Strip Land

Posted by Hunter

I haven't been able to confirm this story despite making several queries but Vegas Today and Tomorrow is reporting that MGM Mirage may be buying the Bennett-owned parcel across from the Sahara.

Since Nazarian purchased The Sahara, this parcel is available - they were previously trying to sell the hotel along with this parcel.

Of course, as we learn more, we'll keep you updated.

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From the agenda of Clark County planners, we have some insight into future projects. Here goes:

City Center - Not much, just a slight increase in the height of the towers from 543 feet to 580 feet. The FAA signed off and MGM is stating that they need the space for stuff like elevators and if residents want to put stuff on the roof (I assume satellite dishes, etc...). Also, the retail component is being increased from 650,000 square feet to 666,870 square feet. One interesting note is that Bellagio's holding company, Bellagio LLC, is the applicant - surely they have new holding companies for City Center - I would assume at least one per development for legal and financial reasons.

Wynn Las Vegas - Again, nothing major. They want to build a walkway from their Sands Ave. parking to the back of house area of the hotel, just for employees. The walkway does intersect with the monorail and the request states they will install a 'protective roof plate' to prevent falling debris hitting anyone. Ha.

Fontainebleau - Some details on the project, which is in review. The tower will be 735 feet high with 2,880 hotel rooms and 1,020 condos with kitchens. The tower sites on a low-rise podium with heights that vary from 81 feet (LVB side) to 175 feet on the convention center side on the back. Other than that, the details are few. They do have a batch plant on site at this time.

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A few quick sound-bites:

A Gaming Today story on the upgrades at the Golden Nugget details the recent changes. I've seen some of this stuff and it is pretty nice. They did a good job down there.

MGM Mirage's sale of their Primm, NV assets to Herbst Gaming is complete.

Lastly, it looks like the NBA All Star Weekend was a bust from a gaming perspective. Thankfully, baccarat action from Chinese New Year saved the day.

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April 10, 2007

Cosmopolitan Rises Above Ground

Posted by Hunter

After what seemed like an endless amount of excavation, the Cosmopolitan has risen above ground!

The resort/condo/casino is going up between Bellagio and City Center on the Las Vegas Strip.

A piece in the RJ:

Also, I had these renderings sent to me a few months ago but was forbidden from sharing... Well, now they are on a public site so here goes: (thanks Mike).

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April 8, 2007

Want Your Own Vegas Blog? Drop Me a Line...

Posted by Hunter

Are you a Las Vegas resident or in some way connected with the industry? Are you interested in blogging but don't know how or want to deal with getting everything setup and running?

Well, this is an open call to potential Vegas bloggers - come join me and I will get you setup with a blog, all the requisite mechanics and lend my experience in getting going.

I'd love some more voices, so please drop me a line if you're interested - even if you need to run your blog anonymously.

Contact me and let's talk about the details:

April 7, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #15 - April 6, 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back after a few weeks off and this time I'm joined in the studio by two friends, Carter and Kevin.

Discussion includes Harrah's buyout, Macau updates, CityCenter and more, plus some oh so witty banter and a call from Mike E.


Here's the link to all the most recent photos:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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April 6, 2007

UPDATED: Podcast Live on TalkShoe

Posted by Hunter

Ok, I'm trying something new - we're going to try a live broadcast of our podcast.

I'm recording a podcast tonight and while we will have all the regular recordings available, I am taking a queue from the podcasting king Leo Laporte and broadcasting this episode LIVE via This means you can call in and listen to the show and participate live (i.e. ask questions).

Since I gave zero notice, I'm guessing that no one will show up but I wanted to try this anyway and we'll probably do this again with more warning. I'd love to take callers.

So, here's how to get in:

Visit and locate our show - it should show up if you search for 'Las Vegas' or 'RateVegas'. I'll update this story if I can get a specific URL or instructions. Okay - starting soon. Let's see what we can do.

Ok, I am aborting the live broadcast - I need more time to get this setup... We're going to record a traditional podcast and next time around we will schedule a live show with call-in. Sorry guys.

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April 5, 2007

Harrah's Shareholders Approve Privatization Plan

Posted by Hunter

Today Harrah's Entertainment shareholders approved the casino company's privatization plan, moving forward on the 7th largest leveraged buy out in US history.

I don't think this vote was ever really much of a question but it's the latest step in the process:

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April 4, 2007

City Center: Visiting the Sales Pavilion

Posted by Hunter

We all know the base genetics of MGM Mirage's City Center development - a mixed use project across 76 acres on a prime piece of Las Vegas Strip real estate. Multiple hotels, gaming, restaurants, retail and condos all coming together in an effort to master plan an miniature city.

The construction cranes are crawling over the property and the 4,000 room hotel/casino that will anchor site is up beyond the 11th floor. A live Web cam of the construction is on the official Web site. Also, MGM MIRAGE provided me with some photos and renderings of the project. Some may be familiar and others new.

I was able to tour the sales pavilion that has been a key tool in allowing MGM Mirage to almost completely sell out one of their condo developments (The Residences at Mandarin Oriental). Along with the tour some questions were answered about some of the other components of the project.

Keep reading after the jump for some more thoughts on what I saw.

online casino games

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April 4, 2007

McCarran Consolidated Car Rental Facility

Posted by detroit1051

"A $170 million consolidated rent-a-car center is scheduled to be open for business today three miles south of McCarran International Airport.
The sleek, modern structure on 68 acres of land at 7135 Gilespie St. will consolidate operations of 11 car rental companies operating at McCarran and, at least for now, ease curbside congestion in front of the airline terminals."

I'm not a fan of these consolidated facilities, but I've been known to be too negative. When any readers use the new one at McCarran, let us know how it works. I've been spoiled by Hertz over the years.
New McCarran Car Rental Facility Opens Today

April 3, 2007

Milam's Las Vegas Tower on Life Support?

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to 'Redneck' for sending this info in. The 1,888 foot 'Las Vegas Tower' project, proposed for construction on the former 'Wet N' Wild' site near the Sahara may be dead. The developer, Christopher Milam, missed a $40 million payment to the landowner, Archon Corp., this past weekend.

For a developer working on a $4.8 billion project to miss a $40 million payment isn't a good sign for the project. For the property owner not to boot them and find someone else isn't a good sign for the demand for that land (at least at the prices they want). The $40 million payment has had it's due date extended to May 31, 2007 - this is the third time the date has been moved and each time LVTI pays about $250,000 for the option so they actually are putting some cash in but things still look shaky at best.

Anyone have any more info on this? I know the debate has raged on the particulars of the building but that's moot if no cash is devoted to continue development.

The section from the 8-K filed with the SEC appears after the jump...

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April 3, 2007

Binion's A Loser For MTR

Posted by Hunter

Binion's in Downtown Las Vegas, formerly Binion's Horseshoe, is not posting good results for owner MTR.

From the RJ (via their horribly designed new Web site - doesn't work properly with Firefox or Safari!), sounds like things have not recovered:

Insert story about Downtown dying here.

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Anyone that runs a Web site tracks all of their statistics such as how many people visited, where did they come from, how long did they stay and what did they look at. We have quite a few more metrics and the amount of data is amazing - except of course I can't really identify the individual (no cause for alarm) - I just see User A, User B, User C, etc...

Anyway, in the spirit of Google's Zeitgeist, here are some of the most popular search terms that lead people to from major search engines since the start of the year. Some are interesting, some funny.

The list after the jump...

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Well, the rumors are true. I've wanted to share this for some time but the terms of the deal were confidential.

While the formal release won't go out until tomorrow, without disclosing the terms I can say that I am now a Wynn Resorts employee and the company will continue to run the site as one of their various PR outlets. Working with the Wynn mergers folks these past weeks I can say that they and Wynn upper management certainly do understand guerrilla style marketing and I'm very excited about my new role.

I'm going to be able to hire on some of my regular contributors and commenters: Mike E., Detroit, Brian, mike_ch and Leonard - you've got mail! I hope you'll join the team.

Thank you to everyone that's reading! Some great things are planned!



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