Vegas Banks On CityCenter

The $8.5 billion CityCenter development in Las Vegas is on track to open its 4,004-room Aria Resort & Casino Dec. 16 despite co-owner Dubai World’s recent request to postpone payments to creditors and a down economy that has already halted similar projects.

MGM Mirage announced Nov. 27 that its joint venture with Dubai World, the investment arm of the Dubai government, in CityCenter isn’t affected by Dubai’s money crunch and the project is fully funded.

Dubai World is reportedly $60 billion in debt and has asked its creditors for a payment extension to May.

MGM Mirage reportedly released estimates in November stating the company lost $750 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30 because of falling revenue and the company wrote down the value of CityCenter to about $4.88 billion.

However, Jim Murren, MGM Mirage CEO, said completing the project is a plus amid tough times.

“We’re at the eve of opening up something that was unimaginable this year, that will have a profoundly positive impact on our cash flows, our cross-marketing opportunities for our other properties, and on visitation and revenue to all of Las Vegas,” Murren said. “I believe that it couldn’t happen at a better time now that we’ve survived the first six rounds of the fight.”

The CityCenter complex, located on 67 acres on the Las Vegas Strip, has been in the works for several years and survived dueling lawsuits between MGM Mirage and Dubai World in April regarding financing for the project.

The parties and their banks dropped the suits after reaching an agreement for funding of the massive project.

The development includes the casino and resort, a 400-room hotel and spa, condominiums, restaurants, shopping mall and fine art installations.

Vegas developments stalled because of financial woes include Boyd Gaming Co.’s $4.8 billion Echelon Place, suspended in summer 2008, and the Fountainebleau Las Vegas casino-resort, where construction was halted this June.