This past May, executives for MGM Resorts International and AEG gathered to celebrate the “topping out” of the Las Vegas Arena, a privately-funded, 20,000-seat, $375 million indoor arena the companies are co-developing on land between New York-New York Hotel & Casino and Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
When completed in the spring of 2016, the venue will play host to more than 100 events annually including boxing, UFC and other sporting events, major headline entertainment, award shows and special events. It is also hoped that the new arena will be the enticement needed to lure a long sought professional sports franchise to Las Vegas.
“Today was an exciting and significant event for all of our Las Vegas Arena partners,” said Mark Prows, senior vice president, arenas for MGM Resorts International at the time of the topping out celebration. “The entire project team has worked extremely hard, and safely, to reach this momentous occasion. We look forward to celebrating additional milestones with our partners and the community as we approach the Arena opening next spring.”
Indeed, chances are MGM Resort officials will be popping corks at many such similar events in the near future, especially in Las Vegas, where the company appears to be involved in several of the public entertainment amenity projects currently under development in the city. Perhaps the most ambitious outside of Las Vegas Arena is The Park, an outdoor dining and entertainment district that will be located on six acres immediately surrounding the new arena.
“Beautiful public places are highlights of many of the world’s finest cities, and Las Vegas shouldn’t be the exception,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International when details for The Park were revealed earlier this year. “The Park will be the first of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip and is an embodiment of MGM Resorts’ commitment to engaging guests through arts and innovation. To create this picturesque outdoor destination, we are literally taking down the walls and opening the doors at our resorts to develop a unique dining and entertainment district that complements its lush new surroundings.”
There is still more to MGM’s entertainment amenity plans in Las Vegas. The company is developing a new 5,000-seat theatre at Monte Carlo. MGM also announced that MGM Grand Hotel & Casino will be a flagship location for TopGolf, a social driving range concept that is growing in popularity across the country.
When completed, these projects will likely transform the entertainment dynamic on the Strip, if not Las Vegas as a whole. Below you will find a recap of the Las Vegas Arena and The Park projects and what they will entail upon completion.
LAS VEGAS ARENA
According to MGM Resorts press materials, the state-of-the-art Las Vegas Arena will feature a variety of premium seating offerings and hospitality areas for entertaining and private events. Multiple bunker clubs, bunker suites, in-bowl sponsor zones, VIP drop-off zones with private lobbies as well as an 85-foot-high atrium and an array of exterior balconies will bring the ultimate Las Vegas experience inside the venue.
In keeping with the partners’ commitment to building responsibly, the arena is being designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards for LEED Gold Certification.
“As with arenas such as STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, London’s The O2, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and several others in the AEG Facilities portfolio, this new arena in Las Vegas is destined to be one of the most recognizable, respected and iconic venues in our industry,” said Dan Beckerman, president and CEO, AEG, when renderings of the completed facility were released in 2014. “From the diverse collection of unique and custom-designed premium seating and hospitality options to the variety of programming that will be booked, there will be offerings to appeal to the widest audience; from casino operators and their guests to international travelers and local residents, this will be world-class in every sense.”
Populous, the project’s architect of record, has worked closely with the project owners and their project manager, ICON Venue Group, to design an arena that will connect the contrasting influences of Las Vegas—the desert and Spring Mountains to the west and the high-energy Las Vegas Boulevard to the east. To capture the excitement of The Strip, the design includes an expansive glass façade with an LED overlay; sweeping, dramatic balconies; an exterior performance stage and a sleek exterior that is as bold as it is sophisticated, creating a visually captivating and iconic focal point in Las Vegas’ bustling entertainment market.
“The design of the arena ensures we will create a truly striking entertainment venue for Las Vegas—representing the color, drama and excitement the city exudes,” said Brad Clark, senior principal at Populous when design details of the project were first released. “The arena will be an extension of The Strip’s high energy—our job with the design was to stay authentic to that spirit.”
When it opens in 2016 in conjunction with Las Vegas Arena, The Park will create an immersive outdoor destination spanning more than six acres, according to company press materials. New York-New York will transform its park-facing facade with a series of unique indoor/outdoor dining and entertainment venues, cultivating a vibrant patio culture that encompasses The Park’s landscaped spaces.
To create a harmonious dialogue between resorts, Park Avenue, the adjacent street providing access from Las Vegas Boulevard, will be realigned as a gently curving, tree-lined parkway: a grand approach to the new arena. New cobblestone walkways in front of New York-New York and Monte Carlo will lead guests into The Park and blend seamlessly with the mosaic tile patterns that canvas the space.
The Park re-envisions the traditional pedestrian experience in Las Vegas. It will draw passersby from the hustle and bustle of The Strip into an oasis offering unique opportunities to experience Las Vegas outdoors and at one’s leisure, only steps from one of the largest urban boulevards in the world. Inspired by the iconic plazas, promenades and squares that have served as important public gathering destinations within the world’s great cities throughout history, The Park will offer an array of common spaces for socializing, relaxing, exploring and sampling the surrounding tastes, sights and sounds.
By day, visitors will be able to bask in pockets of sun or enjoy shade beneath mature trees or one of the stunning, tulip-like shade structures towering more than 50 feet above. Patio-style seating will encourage an interactive social environment, while seating alcoves tucked into large planters will provide areas for respite.
Unique water features, including water walls stretching more than 100 feet in length along the entrance, will add unexpected visuals as will dramatic plantings incorporating a variety of beautiful desert blooms. Exploring The Park, guests will encounter spontaneous live entertainers, such as acoustic guitarists and street performers.
As the sun sets, illuminated elements of The Park’s landscaping will create a dramatic setting. The shade structures, a work of art in and of themselves, will emit LED sequences from high above, captivating guests below. Sounds of live music, clinking glasses and laughter from bordering open-air venues will saturate The Park with energy, giving guests an entirely new way to experience Las Vegas beneath the stars. Not unlike the small cafes and bistros that spill onto iconic promenades, clusters of casual restaurants and bars with outdoor seating will open each resort to The Park creating a colorful patio ambiance.