The new MGM CityCenter development has been in the local news for the past few days. Well, it’s been in the news a lot for a while now, just some aspects of it have been getting more play recently. The 67 acre project is comprised of a number of separate buildings, parking structures and roadways. MGM has contracts with different companies to operate the different towers, some as hotels, some as condos and a casino and shopping center. Last year when construction was moving along it was discovered that the building designated as the Harmon Hotel/condo tower was being improperly constructed. The workers were having problems fitting the reinforcing steel bars together where the floors met the walls, so rather than call back in the architect and design engineers they just were making things fit. Evidently the building inspectors were not looking closely enough, and once concrete was poured the rebar was no longer visible. It wasn’t until the 27th floor of the 47 floor tower was being put in place that somebody finally said “wait – why is this not being done to match the blueprints?” and construction was halted.
Ever since then there has been a large number of lawyers employed to work things out. The city didn’t think it safe to continue so they put a halt to the construction permit, only letting the building be completed to the existing 27 floors. MGM had the contractor put on a roof and exterior glass so that the building was finished from the outside but they stopped all work on the inside. It’s in the news now because the case between MGM and the contractor is finally going to trial, with litigation expected to last for two years or so. Quite a few of the subcontractors have not been paid, and MGM and the main contractor are going back and forth about who is liable for those expenses.
So the building sits there unused. It’s the tower closest to the Strip, next to the Bellagio, and currently is wrapped with an advertisement for the Cirque du Soleil Elvis show (the curved building to the right in the background)
The first 27 floors were planned to be a hotel, with the top 20 floors as condominiums. Quite a few of the condos were presold, meaning that people now own empty air. I don’t know if they are getting refunds or if that will be another lawsuit. The building has not been completed inside, and is just composed of empty concrete floors. MGM has announced it will probably just take the building down and rebuild it from the foundation rather than leave it at only 27 floors.
This means that City Center currently has the most expensive billboard for a Cirque show (or for anything) in the world, as the estimated cost of construction so far is $1,000,000,000 US (in our terms that’s a billion dollars).