Wednesday, August 06, 2014

MGM National Harbor is Expanding

MGM National Harbor in Maryland won't open until 2016, but expansion plans are already being put in place.

MGM Resorts International gave some details about the planned Washington DC area resort on their second quarter earnings conference call.

MGM recently received all the necessary government approvals, and has officially started construction. Maryland based Whiting-Turner has been selected as the general contractor. DC based HKS is the design architect. Smith Group is the architect of record.

The complex will be expanded from 2.8 million to 3.3 million square feet. MGM has also modified the plans to enable even further expansion in the future if demand calls for it.

Total budget for the project has increased from $1 billion to $1.2 billion.

MGM Resorts International has high hopes for MGM National Harbor. The company expects it to be one of the most successful US resorts outside of Las Vegas.

Monday, August 04, 2014

The Harmon is being Dismantled

The never-opened Harmon Hotel at CityCenter is finally coming down.

The tower was deemed unsafe because of construction flaws discovered in 2008. In 2010 I speculated the building would be imploded. Then in 2011 MGM made it official by submitting an implosion plan to Clark County.

For the next three years the building's fate was held up in the court room, as MGM sought approval to take the building down.

Ultimately it was determined that a piece-by-piece dismantling would be safer than an implosion. Recently the progress has become visible, as the glass windows are being removed.

The deconstruction is expected to be complete in the summer of 2015. MGM hasn't announced what they're going to do once the demolition is complete. I've always thought that space could be used as a grand entrance way to CityCenter and Aria.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

James Packer in North Strip Land Deal

Australian billionaire James Packer and his Crown Resorts company are looking at the Las Vegas market again. Packer has reportedly bought a piece of a loan attached to land once occupied by the New Frontier.

Crown Resorts has been successful in other markets around the world including Macau, but Las Vegas has not been as kind.

In 2007 Crown was in a partnership to build a super-tall skyscraper resort on the former Wet and Wild site, but FAA concerns and the tanking economy grounded the project.

Crown also had a minority stake in the failed Fontainebleau project. More recently Packer was said to have expressed interest in buying The Cosmopolitan. That hotel was later sold to Blackstone.

Despite the bad luck in Vegas so far, Crown is one of the largest gaming companies in the world. They need to get a piece of the Vegas market, and their success in Macau and elsewhere has put them in a position to expand.

This is more good news for the north Strip. It's becoming pretty apparent that there's going to be a resurgence in the next few years and companies are going to be jockeying for position to get in on the action.