One for all
Sidebar: Marnell Carrao Associates at a glance
Sidebar: Taking that extra step
One for all
Marnell Corrao offers hotel/casino owners every service they may need, from design to construction to property management
As competition for the gaming dollar grows, casino owners are finding it more important than ever to establish a unique identity or vision that makes their operation stand out among competitors. The challenge is to translate that vision through architectural design into a functioning structure that not only attracts customers, but also gives them little surprises during each visit so players will want to return again and again.
To accomplish this goal, casino owners need substantial help from designers, architects, contractors and interior decorators, whom they can approach for bids individually. Or they can go to Las Vegas-based Marnell Corrao Associates, which offers all of the necessary services under one roof.
"We call this our 'one-stop shopping' approach," said Bret Ewing, president of architecture at Marnell Corrao. "We offer a wide range of services, including consulting, designing all or part of a structure, construction work, and property management afterwards. Clients can choose the whole package or only the parts they need.
"The major benefit to clients in contracting with a full-service house like Marnell Corrao is being able to deal with only one responsible party," Ewing added. "Decisions are made in less time when proposals and ideas don't have to be shuffled between separate companies. As a result, the product is completed sooner as lower cost, and is brought to market in less time."
Marnell Corrao has developed a reputation for tackling the most complex projects and delivering them at or under budget. Among the resort-casino projects in which the company served as designer and general contractor include the Bellagio, the Mirage and Treasure Island in Las Vegas. High profile projects Marnell Corrao is currently working on include the $2.5 billion Las Vegas Wynn Las Vegas hotel/casino/golf course for casino magnate Steve Wynn and the Borgata's Spa in Atlantic City.
Building a business
An early proponent of the design/build delivery method, Marnell Corrao Associates was formed in 1974 when architect Tony Marnell and Lud Corrao, owner of Corrao Construction Co., joined forces to produce the elegantly opulent Tivoli Restaurant in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This project, which took 72 days from design to completion of construction, gave the new firm immediate notice within the casino market as a place to go for innovative work within allotted budgets.
From the success of its initial project, Marnell Corrao secured other projects, including several expansions of Caesars Place. These included the Fantasy Towers, with its matchless two-story suites; and the Porte Cohere, one of the world's largest single-pour cantilevered concrete buildings.
But the project that embedded Marnell Corrao on the casino map as a major design/builder was its renovation of Caesars Atlantic City. During the project, Marnell Corrao upgraded the palatial splendor of the facility, while expanding the casino floor; adding 300 guest rooms, three restaurants, an 800-seat showroom, and a 10,000-sq.-ft. full service health spa with pool and recreation deck.
CEO Tony Marnell has long stated that he and the now retired Lud Corrao saw back then an opportunity to offer casino owners more bang for their buck by combining the design and building processes under one roof. This union of services would center responsibility for projects under one owner, which would enable more innovative work in less time, and to provide more for the same outlay of dollars.
The business acumen of both has proved to be on the money, as the firm has grown steadily during the past 30 years, and has completed more than $7 billion in hotel, casino and resort projects worldwide. The firm further remodels existing facilities, including the Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which Marnell Corrao expanded to 1,500 rooms, added new convention facilities, a pedestrian plaza out front and a retail shopping area.
Marnell Corrao counts Boyd Gaming, Harrah's Entertainment and Pinnacle Entertainment among its regular clients.
It also has built many office, commercial/industrial, retail and residential projects. That aspect of the company's operations began in 1987 with the completion of the South Tech industrial/office park in Las Vegas, noted for its unique offering of each tenant its own entrance.
One non-casino project that Marnell Corrao is particularly proud to have built is the Boy Scouts Resource Center in Las Vegas. The firm is also currently constructing a retail/commercial complex adjacent is Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport, Ewing said.
Marnell expects to do more non-casino work in Las Vegas, as CEO Marnell noted that the city is becoming a mecca for shoppers and much as gaming, which is creating a greater need for retail and commercial construction.
Attention to detail
One key to Marnell Corrao's success is its ability to bring form and function to the ideas and themes for casino projects, Ewing said.
"Our design staff examines the ideas, developing from them concepts and options that can be incorporated into the finished project," Ewing said. "We try to get to the essence of the idea or theme, identify what customers might find fun with it, and work it into the architectural plans."
These fun elements can include going beyond the interior décor to incorporating a unique restaurant concept or an unusual pool that customers will find memorable enough to consider a return visit to the hotel/casino.
But designing to a theme takes on extra importance when a project is for the Native American Gaming market, currently a growing part of the Marnell Corrao client base.
"Many Indian tribes want to showcase through the design and appearance of their facilities their history and culture," Ewing said. "In creating designs for these hotels and resorts, our staff pays serious attention to these concerns to portray the host tribe's culture in a most favorable and respectful light."
Besides design and construction services, Marnell Corrao also provides Native American tribes with operational and developmental services, aimed at giving them to expertise to build successful gaming businesses and expand into other economic venues. Current Native American clients of Marnell Corrao include the San Pasqual Tribe, owners of the Valley View Casino, Valley View, Calif., and Fort Mojave Tribe, owners of the AVI Casino, Laughlin, Nev.
A host of services
Ever-eyeing ways to better meet all needs of clients, Marnell Corrao has created the Marnell Consulting division to provide owners with services from start to finish of a project. These include master planning, where company consultants work with project backers to conceive and design projects that are unique in appearance yet economically sustainable. Marketing research is performed to target the project to meet real local needs.
The company also does all
developmental and logistical planning, including the coordination of architecture, engineering, and all
feasibility, environmental impact and financial studies in the creation of a master plan. It directs the construction process from pre-construction planning involving budgeting and technical challenges, to making
The recently formed Marnell Properties division provides property management services to real estate assets, including maintenance and other services that enhance the property's value.
The Garage, Marnell Corrao's newest unit, expands the company's services to clients well before the preliminary architectural planning stage. Employing all types of designers (graphics, product, fashion, etc.), The Garage performs research and creative work that analyzes existing market trends to pinpoint a unique collection of experiences that would prompt a certain segment of the overall customer base to choose that hotel, casino and/or resort over other options.
In other words, Marnell Corrao helps the project owner target a market niche that is his alone."
Marnell Carrao Associates at a glance
Marnell Corrao Associates
222 Via Marnell Way
Las Vegas, Nev. 89119
Fax: (702) 739-2025
Tony Marnell, chairman and CEO
Perry Eiman, president
Bret Ewing, president of architecture
Linda Roe, vice president of Indian Gaming
Development and logistical planning
Real estate asset management
When it comes to fully serving its clients, Marnell Corrao Associates operates on the motto, "Whatever it takes!"
When Marnell Corrao contracted with Mirage Resorts to design and build the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, Mirage made it known that the schedule was a significant factor. The new project had to be completed to open in October 1993 on the fourth anniversary of the opening its sister property, the Mirage Hotel and Casino. To meet the deadline, Marnell Corrao employed such innovations as a 7-day work schedule that rotated crews to maximize productivity and the coordinated use of two flyers to construct the tower walls. The result was the completion of 1.3 floors per week, which resulted in the tower being topped six weeks early, and the entire project being finalized more than a month early.
When serving clients in the Native American Gaming market, Marnell Corrao goes one step further than most. Linda Roe, vice president of Indian Gaming, works directly with tribal leaders to help match Marnell Corrao services with their needs to improve the economic standards of tribal members and increase growth in existing operations. Roe goes as far as to participate with Indian leaders in lobbying Congress and other U.S. government officials on behalf of Indian sovereignty and other issues important to the Native American community.
-James J. Hodl