Thursday, January 8, 2009

How Much Does CityCenter Cost? Nobody Seems To Know

You might recall a while back I puzzled over the size of CityCenter. Is it 67 acres? 66? 76? MGM Mirage settled that with a statement that they were going with 76 acres and since they get to draw the boundaries on their own property, 76 it is. Has a patriotic ring to it, too.

But how much is CityCenter costing? Several reports yesterday about the shorning and delaying of The Harmon now-not-condo project used a variety of figures.

A little history. Project CityCenter started out at $5 billion, way back when it was first announced in September 2005. It became $6 billion by February 2006 when they added another 1,000 condo units, mainly because Vdara grew larger. About a week later, it became $7 billion when some infrastructure costs were added in. By earlier this year, the highly credible Bloomberg News started using $11.2 billion. It's also a figure I've used. Yesterday, Robin Leach decided it's $13 billion, a figure nobody has ever officially suggested. In fact, the link at the end of Robin's post is to a Las Vegas Sun story that uses $9.2 billion.

It's not just journalistic confusion, though. Nobody actually knows for sure. Here's an emailed statement I got from MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman this morning: "The safest apples-to-apples would be our previously stated $9.2b less the just announced $600m in savings."

Uh, OK. So now it's officially $8.6 billion?

I called Feldman. Yes, $8.6 billion is now the official number. But what does he mean, apples-to-apples?

"The reason why you have big differences is like $9 billion and $11 billion is because the $11 billion includes things that the $9 billion never included. Bloomberg uses $11 billion because at one point that appeared in a filing because there was a valuation placed on land. It was speaking about the value of the project, not the cost of the project."

In other words, that 76 acres is seen to be worth about $2 billion. That makes sense in 2007 or early 2008, anyhow, after the Elad fools paid $1.2 billion for the Frontier's 35 acres in a less desirable location. It's probably come down since then but is academic anyway because nobody's selling the land under CityCenter. Yet, anyway.

Feldman went on: "This is a number that you need to understand is moving. We continue to bid stuff, we continue to get new pricing. We talk about these numbers as if they're fixed but they're really not."

Understood. But $13 billion?

"I have no idea where Robin got that number. Respectfully, I've never heard it."

Keep in mind, Robin was the guy who pegged the Treasure Island sale before anyone. So maybe he knows something.


Anonymous said...


They still don't know how many acres CityCenter is. The most recent fact sheet said 67 acres. Way to stay consistent, MGM Mirage!

Anonymous said...


They still don't know how many acres CityCenter is. The most recent fact sheet said 67 acres. Way to stay consistent, MGM Mirage!

Anonymous said...

I think the land is part of a much larger parcel. Except for taxation, ownership, or loan issues (Of which I think no issues exist), it doesn't really how many acres CityCenter is. One guy may include the Monte Carlo parking lot and one may not, etc.

Jeff in OKC

Anonymous said...

jeff, i agree, but i also think that the media parroting different figures can get confusing and distracting for people. I mean, it's not my land OR my money, but I still like to know that someone knows what's what.

Anonymous said...

The land behind Monte Carlo and New York New York are included, right? I know the old models used to include "future condo towers" in the overall design of CityCenter.

Anonymous said...


You're mistaken on a couple of facts here. CityCenter was announced in November 2004, nearly a full year before you're post says.

Likewise, the R-J stories that ran on Nov. 10-11, 2004 cited the initial cost as $3 billion to $4 billion. It seems that MGM Mirage wasn't sure what the price would be from Day One.

Anonymous said...

"Your post" I meant to type. Damn Clark County education shows through again.


Anon - fair enough. I stand corrected. I was working a little quickly this morning and i had it in my head that i was announced around the time of Katrina (Sept 2005) because I remember a really obnoxious Brian Unger commentary on NPR about the comparison between rebuilding New Orleans and building CityCenter. But now I think maybe that was the groundbreaking?

Anonymous said...

The main parcel for, and owned as City Center, runs from Harmon to part of Rue de Monte Carlo and includes the new parking garage is listed as 61.86 acres. From the MC to LV Blvd it's still owned as Victoria Partners, the LLC formed by MGM Mirage and Mandalay when they built it as a joint venture. The parcel to the north of Harmon for Vdara is 4.63 acres. So 66.49 acres for City Center. Throw in some of the Monte Carlo land since they've been playing on it and I guess you could squeeze out another 10 acres, give or take.

Except for small lots of < 1 acre CVS, about 5 acres each for Cosmo and Jockey Club, and the 1.62 acre Bellagio leased skinny sliver next to that, and the < 1 acre leased for the Bellagio sign and exit drive, MGM owns everything else between Flamingo and Trop, and Frank Sinatra to LV Blvd. under one entity or another. So I guess it's pretty much their sandbox, they can call it how they like. :)

Anonymous said...

I remember sitting down with an AVP at a former job with the legal sale documents on a project to calculate the acreage. We used all our fingers and ties and those fancy calculator things and found the exact number.

Yet 20 more acres were continually added on by the president because the number sounded more impressive. I finally gave up.

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