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Project CityCenter Encore

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MGM Mirage, which is currently building the massive $7 billion Project CityCenter on 66 acres on the south Strip, has assembled the acreage to construct a similar and potentially larger development on the Strip's northern end.

The Las Vegas-based casino operator has finalized two Strip land acquisition deals worth a combined $575 million that will give the company more than 100 contiguous acres for development stretching north from Circus Circus Drive to Sahara Avenue.

As part of the plans, MGM Mirage said it will refurbish the aging Circus Circus.

MGM Mirage will spend $444 million to purchase a vacant 25.8-acre parcel from Gordon Gaming Corp., the current owners of the Sahara.

The site, on the southwest corner of the Strip and Sahara Avenue, is one of the boulevard's last major undeveloped locations. It once housed the original El Rancho Vegas, one of the first hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, which was destroyed by fire on June 18, 1960.

In addition, MGM Mirage is spending $131 million to acquire a 7.6 acre parcel from Concord Wilshire Partners, a Southern California real estate developer that had announced plans last year to build a hotel-casino on the oddly shaped site in conjunction with the publishers of Maxim Magazine.

Both transactions are expected to close by May.

MGM Mirage acquired Circus Circus and its 68-acre site in 2005 as part of a $7.9 billion buyout of the Mandalay Resort Group. Circus Circus includes the hotel-casino, a low-rise motel, the Adventure Dome theme park and a recreational vehicle park.

The newly acquired land parcels, which average about $17 million an acre, connect with Circus Circus.

MGM Mirage expects to eliminate the recreational vehicle park and the low-rise motel, allowing for 44 acres to be combined with the newly purchased 34 acres.

The 78 acres on the north Strip could hold the same potential as Project CityCenter, located between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio which began construction last year.

The development will include a hotel-casino, boutique hotels, high-rise residential and a retail, dining and entertainment district.

Unlike CityCenter, which MGM Mirage is financing, the company will most likely take a different approach and seek partners to develop the north Strip location.

MGM Mirage operates 10 casinos on the Strip, more than any other gaming company.

Gaming analysts have targeted development opportunities on the northern end of the Strip as the next wave of potential Strip development, stretching from Convention Center Drive to Sahara Avenue.


The Sahara's vacant land parcel was one of three locations in conjunction with the casino that was controlled by Gordon Gaming, which was founded by the late gaming pioneer William Bennett when he bought the aging resort in 1995.

Gordon Gaming still controls an 11.3 acre parcel on Paradise Road across from the Sahara that Knott said remains on the market.

For a more detailed description of Project CityCenter:

The Harmon Hotel and Residences

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences

The Vdara Condo Hotel

The Veer residential Condos

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