Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

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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Read archived comments (24 so far)
April 20, 2007 9:06 AM Posted by Mike P.


That press release link didn't work for me, but I found it here.

I walked the length of the project along the strip yesterday -- Harmon's foundation mat (is that the correct term?) was freshly poured, so the footprints of all 6 highrise buildings in the project are now established. There were angled tubes of rebar on both Veer towers, so we should soon see them actually veering.

By the way I was indeed totally fooled by perspective when I wrote that it looked like the tram was going to run right through the main hotel. There are a couple additional support piers up from my last visit, and it's now clear that it's running just beyond the northeast wing of the main hotel, then making a sharp turn to terminate at Bellagio's convention center.

I have some pictures that I'll upload somewhere, probably my own site. The activity there (at Cosmo too!) is pretty impressive. I counted 30 plus or minus a couple construction cranes on site.

Mike P.

April 23, 2007 1:26 PM Posted by detroit1051

"I can't help but think of an airport terminal when I see that road system at the bottom - not a whole lot of difference."

This seems to be a growing sentiment.

April 24, 2007 5:16 AM Posted by detroit1051

�People have been predicting dating back to 1955 that Las Vegas will reach a saturation point,� said David G. Schwartz, author of �Roll the Bones,� a history of gambling, and director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. �But me, I wouldn�t bet against casino growth.�

There are links within the article to a slideshow and chart of hotel room growth.

April 30, 2007 5:07 PM Posted by Mike P.

It took a while, but I finally got CityCenter construction pictures from mid April uploaded to my own web site.

Now that I have a pocket size point & shoot camera I'll try to get pictures every trip and if possible post them in closer to real time.

Mike P.

May 29, 2007 11:15 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Check out the latest construction photos on VT&T of the Pelli tower. Absolutely STUNNING window wall treatment! The mullionless silicone-seam "saw-tooth" pattern of the floor-to-ceiling glazing looks spectacular, especially on the curvilinear facade. This tower will definitely turn out to be a true architectural masterpiece when it's completed. I also like the fact that the window wall (overall) has a look of "transparency" to it. Truly an inspirational tower, it will make WLV/Encore look like a circa 1980's low-cost office building by comparison!

May 29, 2007 11:34 AM Posted by Hunter

While I still like the WLV tower, I did see the Pelli tower last week in the flesh and it is looking quite nice, though I'm starting to feel like the CC site might be a bit too crowded for my tastes. Too early to say for sure.

Anyway, I just updated my photo archives to include some new shots from me and Mark D., who was kind enough to lend us some photos.

A written update on my trip will come as soon as I can write it... I spent some quality time with the Encore plans again, though don't get too excited with regards to new details.

May 29, 2007 2:57 PM Posted by mike_ch

Still too industrial-modern for my taste, but the sawtooth edges give the thing some flavor for the first time in, well, ever.

May 29, 2007 3:55 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

mike_ch: Actually my father was the very FIRST to pioneer the "saw-tooth" tower design in both his unbuilt proposal for the Circus Circus high-rise back in the mid-1970's + the 'as-built' 35 story Harrah's Las Vegas Carnival Tower in the late 1980's. Previous to these two projects, no other architect had ever designed a "saw-tooth" facade design for ANY gaming (or hospitality) resort property until now. The major difference with Pelli's tower facade design is that it is ALL GLAZING, no precast concrete or any other material to obstruct the floor-to-ceiling blue hued glass. The corners are butt-seamed silicone giving the affect of continuous, uninterrupted views of the Strip + CityCenter. Hunter, I know you are a Wynn fanboy, however, how can you even COMPARE Pelli's exterior facade design with that of WLV/Encore. GMAFB, its bad enough that the interior design of WLV looks like a f*cking whorehouse, however, not ONE single person whom I have spoken with, without exception, that are in the "design" industry (either architects or interior designers) all have expressed their 'subjective' opinion + unanimously agree that WLN/Encore are nothing but CHEAP looking towers from the 1980's!

May 29, 2007 4:11 PM Posted by Hunter

I hardly think of myself as a 'Wynn fanboy'. I've posted enough stuff here that paints him in a negative light and despite what you have implied in the past, Wynn Resorts in no way 'sponsors' this Web site. There is no financial connection between them and me - ads are supplied by third parties, a process you may become more familiar with as you get your own site started but is by far the most common arrangement in the Web ad industry (see Google AdSense/AdWords).

As to your reflection on my comment, I suggest you read it again. I was referring to the crowding on the City Center site - as I see the buildings coming out of the ground, the site is looking more and more crowded - lots of big buildings very close together. I made no comparison to any WLV building in my post at all and while I think the Pelli tower will be striking, my fear is that with the rest of the buildings on the site, it will feel very closed in... Of course, it's too early to say for sure.

I've got the plans for the Pelli high-rise and some of the stuff looks very interesting. I'm excited about that part of CC the most, by far... And maybe a little in the Mandarin. Veer, the mall and the Harmon - eh... Whatever. That's not the interesting stuff, at least as far as I am concerned.

May 29, 2007 4:22 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

mike_ch: Here's a link to my father's original proposal for the Circus Circus high rise addition + expansion that dates back to the mid-1970's! So Pelli's design IS NOT exactly a "first time" execution of this particular tower configuration. Note the "balloon" signage concept was even COPIED by Bergman/Walls over 20 years later in the Paris balloon.

May 29, 2007 4:36 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

mike_ch: Here is a link to EMPORIS's photo of Harrah's 35 story Carnival Tower 'as-built', designed by my father. Clearly this is the first + only high rise tower that ever incorporated a "saw tooth" facade. (To the editor of Emporis for this region, I realize that I am using a link to this photo without [your] permission, since we have communicated with each other in the past, I will not publish any additional stuff from your website without prior authorization in advance).

May 29, 2007 4:41 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Sorry, I forgot to paste the link once again.

May 29, 2007 6:28 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter: When I eventually launch my website,, I can assure you that there will be ZERO advertisements/sponsors by ANY gaming operator or ANYONE connected within the industry. You know damn well that you receive compensation from "third party sources" in order to fund your website + one of them is Wynn Resorts, Ltd. Don't get me wrong, I understand that you NEED to support the cost of keeping your website going, which is a "considerable" expense to take on by yourself. My website, on the other hand, will be funded without the need for ANY "third party" sponsors of ANY kind. That is one of my major conditions/requirements. The only links that you will find on my website will be those connected with the increasing 'anti-Wynn movement' that continues to propel itself on a daily basis, such as the dealers' union, associated blogs, etc., etc. who will NOT be charged ANY fee whatsoever. So far, without even having solicited funding, I have received an unbelievable response in support of my endeavor + multiple offers to outright 'finance' my anti-Wynn website at whatever cost! The fact that I already have prominent attorneys onboard willing to provide their services on a pro bono basis is absolutely UNIMAGINABLE to me. As you know, my personal family issues might delay the launch of, however I have the support of some of the most influential people in the entire gaming industry who prefer to remain anonymous, but share my view that Steve Wynn is nothing but a CANCER within this industry. The only reason that I continue to contribute to your website is because it is so obviously pro-Wynn" that it's ridiculous. I completely understand your NEED to finance this website. will also be offering an 'online store' that has T-Shirts with the "no smoking" logo across [his] ugly face as well as high-quality dart boards, complete with a silk screened target. We also intend to be offering an official poster "target practice" image of Wynn as well for those who choose to use Steve's face + upper body to hone their skills at the shooting range! Unfortunately, I will have to pay commercial use copyright fees for several of these particular images, but wait until you see them - suffice it to say it doesn't show Steve at his best. You can equate the images that I intend to publish on the Internet of Steve to be equivalent to Lindsay Lohan's recent passed-out video captures, or even worse!

May 29, 2007 7:05 PM Posted by mike_ch

Yes, I've seen the Harrah's tower before, and I've stayed in it. While different from the outside, the design seems to result in smaller windows than I expected on the inside. Here, the curvature of the building plus the advances as far as the use of glass go makes it more dramatic.

May 29, 2007 7:26 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

mike_ch: No question about it, the Harrah's Carnival Tower was built + designed in the late 1980's. How can you make a fair comparison between a 2007 tower (by Pelli nonetheless) with an older precast concrete facade that has punched windows, albeit a "saw tooth" facade design"? I challenge you to name ANY large scale resort hotel in the world that incorporated this particular design element at that time, or until now, outside of Pelli's tower @ CityCenter.

May 29, 2007 8:05 PM Posted by Hunter

Well, as the world's foremost authority on my own Web site, I can state that I have never in my life ever gotten a check from 'Wynn Resorts' and you are 100% wrong about that.

It sounds like you don't understand how these ads and affiliate things work. Not that it is anyone's business (and it is very off-topic), I will fill you in on how these work.

One of the companies that I give ad inventory to to sell is Google. Their ads are 'auto-targeted' based on the content and we get paid when people see an ad they are interested in and click it.

Second up are what's called 'affiliate marketers'. This is where the 'Bellagio' and 'Wynn Las Vegas' booking banners come from and probably why you're confused. The affiliate program manager has all sorts of companies that I could sign up with if I was interested in having bleach or ED drug ads on the Web site. People can click those and if they book a vacation, we get a small percentage but it's all through the affiliate program people, not the resort companies themselves.

I get the feeling that Wynn Resorts doesn't like me much. Their PR department stopped taking my calls about a year ago and despite having a very large, receptive audience, I get the equivalent of an icy stare when I toss anything their direction.

So, no, I don't get checks from the resort dudes, though I absolutely would consider letting them advertise if they called and asked. I have no problem with running their ads as long as it is clear that they are ads - no advertisements disguised as fake content - that I will not do.

So yes, I do have ads to defray the cost of running the site in a 'professional' manner and beyond that, I wouldn't kill myself if it made a profit one day.

May 29, 2007 8:57 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter, I am well aware of everything that you are referring to, nonetheless, by association, the banner adverts appearing on your site are automatically included based on their "relevance" to your site's content/topics. I understand that you have no control over the fact that Wynn Resorts' banner + link are a contiguous component of your website, that is beyond your control based on your agreement with third party advertisers. Well, if Wynn Resorts, Ltd. PR Dept. "doesn't like you very much" it's probably because you practice FREEDOM of the PRESS + post (most of) MY negative crap against Steve. Now that McKee (of the Business PRESS) has been officially "silenced" forever, websites like this + my future own site, are one of the few Internet outlets that remain allowing those the opportunity to genuinely opine on relevant issues in connection with Steve. I never had any intention of using your forum as a soapbox for my own "agenda", RE Wynn, but your regular contributors continued to challenge my position + they have been proven wrong. I will admit, however, that since your newly enacted policies, there are less malicious + venomous posts here from both sides which you should be commended for.

May 29, 2007 10:40 PM Posted by mike_ch

As a user of it's site, I would say that it's biggest and most prominent advertisements the ads for

It seems anymore like their ads are on every page these days.

May 30, 2007 5:17 PM Posted by John

Honestly, it comes down to basics, from my POV. Hunter, if you want to be in with Wynn's PR dept., and get information regarding future "design and commentary" information from that company, it may be beneficial to stop these "Wynn-Sucks".com ads. If you don't really want to gain information that is truly beneficial for the blog and pertains to its intended purpose then, by all means, keep posting off topic advertisements for a Wynn bashing site and prevent us from discussing the intended topic of the article, which is "Project City Center", not "Wynn Resorts ads."

May 30, 2007 5:29 PM Posted by Hunter


The way that companies like Wynn Resorts treats publishers like myself has absolutely nothing to do any of the content here, it's a general stance and way of thinking that has existed since before I first started doing this. They don't deal with Internet publishers at all - you could argue that they don't understand the changes in media and I believe that will be to their detriment in the long run but for now, that's the way that it is.

How has anything that I have done prevented you from discussing anything? I don't understand your comment.

Also, I've worked hard to bring you info on topics like the Encore designs, another one of which I am working on now, and so I guess I'm not totally in love with the tone of your post.

I haven't posted any 'ads' for anyone's Web site and while I try to enforce the rules I adopted for the comments, the other side of that is being fair and trying to apply them in a universal manner, even when it comes to points of view that I may disagree with.

May 30, 2007 8:00 PM Posted by John

Hunter, I'm sorry I had always thought that Wynn's PR department had something to do with your viewing the Encore plans for some reason, I guess I was grossly wrong. However, the point I was trying to make was that all of these new guidelines were passed in order to prevent threads from going off-topic, but it often seems like a certain "contributor" is constantly allowed to go way off-topic and begin to "promote" his own website in these posts. I don't have any "beef," as it were, with Leonard, but I just don't think it's very fair to all of the posters.

Also, in addition to my "mis-post" on the Wynn PR, I think I was starting to mix different events in which MGM Mirage's PR department, if I recall, got you a VIP look at CityCenter's retail pavillion and somehow equated that to Wynn's PR department in so weird line of thinking that only made sense in my head. Again, I apologize for getting that mixed up, but I do believe the point I made above still stands.

May 30, 2007 8:21 PM Posted by Hunter

Really, the point of the rules were to stop the endless personal attacks between folks more than anything else, though perhaps the hammer should drop harder on the post topics as well... The open topic thing seemed popular and that's a component of that.

May 30, 2007 11:16 PM Posted by John

Well, I'm not saying that digression is a bad thing. Constant digression is. However, that open topic thread is a great option.

May 31, 2007 12:17 PM Posted by marlymarr

Leonard, why has Mckee of the business press been silenced forever?? I must have missed something, as much as i like Wynn i can appreciate a different view on topics.