In an interview with the LV Sun, CEO Murren pitched CityCenter as an attractive property for LV locals. The reader comment section shed some light on the viability of that assertion.
MGM’s CEO gave an interview with Jon Ralston from the Las Vegas Sun this week to discuss the opening of the $8.5 billion project CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip. The project is opening in one of the worst economies Vegas has ever seen. Predictably, Murren is expanding his duration from a “return on investment perspective” to “over a five-or-ten-year period of time”. I'm sure the ROI analysis will include cannibalization.
Jim Murren believes that the art and architecture at CityCenter will “inspire” people to the degree that local Las Vegas residents will come to CityCenter. He contends that locals, himself included, will warm to a property that creates some semblance of a downtown urban environment that Vegas previously lacked. Murren dispelled the notion that another casino, hotel, mall, or arena is what Las Vegas needs, “but”, he said, “what we could use, what we do need is something to inspire people. I think the architecture will. I think the public spaces will”. MGM has an uphill battle. Traditionally, locals have preferred the Boulder Strip, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Henderson casinos to the more expensive and tourist-orientated, congested Strip.
The Las Vegas Sun’s online version of this piece, entitled, “Locals will visit Strip to go to CityCenter”, was met with almost universal dissidence from readers via the discussion section below the article. Most of these responders are undoubtedly Las Vegas area residents so their opinions should not be discounted. Indeed, they are very telling. Some of the more notable reader reactions include:
“Umm... inspire them to do what exactly? Spend more money?”
“LOL. And how do you make money from people wandering around enjoying the environment? Last I checked you make a lot more money from the guy sitting in front of the slot machine than the guy sitting on the park bench admiring an obscure piece of art.”
“Honestly, if City Center wants to attract locals, then let us know when Crystals has a Wal-Mart and a Dollar Loan Center on site.”
“Who wants to fight the traffic then park in a garage that is 4 miles from the Casino and walk? Not me… Murren - you are totally out of touch! All I see with City Center is a big impersonal Monster that I have no intention of entering.”