In a city known for big bets, the one MGM
Resorts and Dubai World made on Las Ve-
gas in 2009 was clearly the biggest. And al-
most five years after CityCenter, the joint
venture’s $9 billion, mixed-use district,
opened as the largest privately funded de-
velopment in U.S. history, that bet appears
to be paying off.
In the largest gamble ever on a private development
in the U.S., MGM Resorts and Dubai World risked
everything to make CityCenter happen. Now it’s
time for the payback.
BY DANNY KING
Buoyed by a Las Vegas tourism contingent that could be
on its way to breaking the 40-million-visitor threshold for
the first time in the city’s history, CityCenter, with its inventory of almost 5,900 hotel rooms and its half-million
square feet of retail space, appears to be more than holding
its own on the Las Vegas Strip and watching its early challenges disappear in its rearview mirror.
In fact, there is some evidence that CityCenter’s three
hotels — the 4,004-room Aria Resort & Casino, the 1,495-
room Vdara Hotel & Spa and the 392-room Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas — are pulling market share from the rest
of the Strip.
Last year, Las Vegas’ visitor count was down about
58,000 from its 2012 record high of 39.7 million visitors,
while revenue per available room (RevPAR) on the Strip
was up 2.2%. Meanwhile, the Aria and Vdara outpaced
those totals, boosting their RevPAR last year by 4% and