MGM plans outdoor shopping and dining district near future Las Vegas Strip arena
This illustration released by the MGM Resorts International shows the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Rue de Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. (AP / MGM Resorts International)
Michelle Rindels, The Associated Press Published Monday, April 28, 2014 9:33PM EDT
LAS VEGAS -- Days before it breaks ground on a new, $350 million arena just off the Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts International has announced plans for a tree-lined outdoor shopping and dining district that will serve as the venue's grand entrance.
The casino company said Monday the 8-acre development dubbed "The Park" will feature casual patio dining, dramatic desert landscaping and long, water-wall-style fountains that will stretch more than 100 feet along the entrance.
"Beautiful public places are highlights of many of the world's finest cities, and Las Vegas shouldn't be the exception," MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement. "We are literally taking down the walls and opening the doors at our resorts to develop a unique dining and entertainment district that complements its lush new surroundings."
Park areas lined with mature trees and tall, tulip-shaped shade structures will flank Rue de Monte Carlo, a road running perpendicular to the Las Vegas Strip between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos. The street itself will be reconfigured into a curving parkway that leads up to the planned, 20,000-seat arena, which is scheduled for a Thursday groundbreaking.
Restaurants set to open in The Park include the burger joint Shake Shack, gourmet waffle eatery Bruxie and the Japanese restaurant Sake Rok. The district will also feature a beer garden, a wine bar, the Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, and Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, named for the country music star.
The redevelopment comes as MGM is reworking the Strip-facing areas in front of the two casinos into a park-like promenade.
The full entertainment district is set to open in early 2016 in conjunction with the arena, a joint venture between MGM and AEG.
MGM is hardly the first Las Vegas casino company throwing its weight behind shopping and entertainment projects as gambling revenue stalls.
Earlier this year, rival Caesars Entertainment opened the outdoor shopping district LINQ, anchored by the 550-foot-tall High Roller observation wheel.
Caesars is also working on the Grand Bazaar Shops, a 2-acre, $50 million outdoor shopping district outside of Bally's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The development, which is modeled after Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, is slated to open in the fall.
Murren said the move toward open-air models reflects a shift in consumer habits. Patrons in the past stuck with itineraries; today's consumers do their own research, are more spontaneous, and will change plans to "find where fun people are at," he said.
"These resorts are very inward-facing. They were designed to try to be provocative, to get people inside and have them stay as long as possible," Murren said of the old setups. "By opening up these resorts, by creating a much more porous environment with outdoor and indoor spaces and experiences, you're going to attract a lot more people."
Developers planning to build 15,000 homes in North Las Vegas told the city council today they hope to have shovels in the ground before the end of the year on one of the largest housing developments to come to Southern Nevada since the recession.
The North Las Vegas City Council first approved plans for the 2,600 acre Park Highlands master planned community in 2006. But the economic crash and several bankruptcies kept the project located near Aliante Parkway north of the Las Vegas Beltway from ever materializing.
The project's rocky history has resulted in eight different companies owning parcels of land in the development.
Wednesday night, a representative for those companies told the city council that a plan was in place that could see construction start in late 2014 or early 2015.
The plan presented to the council would split the Park Highlands development into two separate master planned communities instead of just one.
The two communities would be completed in separate phases, with the first comprising 4,000 homes on a 600 acre parcel.
An amended development agreement will be presented to the North Las Vegas City Council next month and if approved, construction on the first phase would begin within a year, attorney Bob Gronauer said.
A second phase consisting of 11,000 homes built on 2,000 acres would be developed later, he said.
Altogether, the project is expected to cost $3.2 billion over 15 years of construction.
Wednesday's announcement was heralded by city officials as a sign of the city's changing fortunes after years mired in an economic malaise.
If successful, the Park Highlands development would be the largest to come to Southern Nevada in years.
"The regional significance is great. Wall Street, investment bankers are coming back into this valley saying 'We believe in this region again,' " Mayor John Lee said. "I'm just glad that they've chosen North Las Vegas to plant their flag in the ground. We're showing America ... that we're open for business again."