CityCenter: Vegas 4.0

A long profile on CityCenter and MGM Mirage CEO, Jim Murren, who comes across in the article as not quite getting the whole casino part of the casino resort:

From the start, analogies to New York City were explicit. The acreage, a spokesman notes, was larger than Rockefeller Center, Times Square and SoHo combined. Among the first architects recruited was Libeskind, the then–World Trade Center reconstruction master planner, to design the Crystals shopping district.

And last month, Murren compared CityCenter to other structures along the Strip by bathing his remarks in New York references. The nearby Panorama Towers are “not Fifth Avenue. And Trump [International Tower] certainly is not Fifth Avenue, and it doesn’t have Central Park in front of it like CityCenter does.”

Central Park? In front of CityCenter? There are some trees and landscaping, and what’s being referred to as a “pocket park” — another NYC reference, natch — that features sitting areas around a classic Henry Moore sculpture of a woman and babe in repose.

But Central Park?

Last month at a symposium focused on Wynn’s lush new Encore Las Vegas resort, Wynn’s longtime interior designer, Roger Thomas, offered this backhanded slap: “I don’t think that when you have a panel about the design of CityCenter, you’ll have a landscape architect as part of it, as we do here today.”

Other observers aren’t convinced CityCenter is really a major departure for Las Vegas. “It’s the nice new casino resort in Las Vegas. Is it anything more than that? I don’t know yet,” says gaming stock analyst Robert LaFleur of the Susequehanna Financial Group.

Hillegas, of RateVegas.com, also plans to wait and see: “They like to say that CityCenter is unique, and you won’t find the word theme anywhere in their press material,” he offers. “But it’s city-themed.”