Another major redevelopment project is in the works for the Las Vegas Strip. MGM Resorts announced Thursday its plans to build a $100 million entertainment district between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts.
New facades for the Strip's casinos, shops, food trucks and a public park will complement a 20,000-seat arena. The arena is the centerpiece of MGM's massive redevelopment project.
"We are opening the front door, the side door and the back door," said MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren. "We are letting people walk in, walk out and walk around. We are allowing people what they want to do."
Murren said his vision to create more open-air space on the Strip was inspired by changing times.
"Today's customer wants to be out in the open," said Murren. "The customer wants to be independent and doesn't want to be told what to do. They don't want to be trapped in any kind of resort."
David Schwartz from UNLV's Center for Gaming Research said it's a smart move to attract non-gamblers. The strategy strays from the Strips's long-held idea to keep visitors inside casinos to spend more money.
"For the past 15 years, non-gaming has been growing at the expense of gaming," said Schwartz. "Gaming hasn't grown as fast. People can gamble anywhere in the United States. The come to Las Vegas to have fun and do things."
MGM Resorts' plans mirror its rival Caesars Entertainment and its current development of the Linq District further north on the Strip. However, MGM Resorts' draw is the arena instead of an observation wheel.
"The good news is this is going to compete with Linq," said Schwartz. "It's going to give people more options. That means Linq is going to have to be that much better. I think you need that in Vegas. It gives people a lot of different things to do and that's what draws people here."
The project will be completed in phases. Demolition will start next year. The facades and park will be completed by 2015. The arena will be finished in 2016.
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