Thursday, May 13, 2010

Improving Economy Good News for CityCenter

It has been a long time coming but I will get to visit CityCenter for the first time next week while attending HD Expo in Las Vegas. I am looking forward to it. The project has already earned six Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council. CityCenter has also won numerous other environmental awards since opening at the end of 2009. Sustainable features range from an 8.5-megawatt natural gas cogeneration plant to a fleet of stretch limos powered by compressed natural gas.

It is pretty obvious that CityCenter did not open at the best time but it is what it is. According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, the complex, which is owned by MGM Mirage and Dubai World, recorded an operating loss of $255 million in the first quarter of this year. That includes a $171 million write-down in the value of the project's condos. It has only been able to finalize sales of about 100 of its 2,400 luxury condominiums. The owners are also involved in a dispute with the project's chief contractor, Perini Building Co., over about $500 million in construction fees. Before accounting for the write-down and other charges, CityCenter incurred a loss of $32 million. When you think about it that way, things could have been a lot worse.

Company officials and industry experts do see better things on the horizon for CityCenter and Las Vegas as the economy improves and groups and individual travelers return to the city. The project, plagued by problems from its beginning, does deserve a chance to shine--especially since it is one of the best examples of green building design in the United States. I will report back here after my visit to CityCenter next week. Have you been to CityCenter? If so, what did you think? I will look forward to reading your comments.

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