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Howard Stutz

Citycenter budget increases

31 October 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The budget for Las Vegas' most expensive construction project grew a little larger Tuesday.

MGM Mirage said building costs for the 76-acre CityCenter development on the Strip had increased $400 million to $7.8 billion.

The project includes a 4,000-room hotel-casino, four high-rise residential and condominium-hotels, and an entertainment, dining and retail district.

MGM Mirage Chairman Terry Lanni said the complexity of CityCenter, which required more steel and concrete than has been previously budgeted, was the reason for cost increase.

"We're not going to sacrifice quality," Lanni said. &Quot;This is a major investment that will transform the industry. We have one chance to make a good first impression and we want to do it right.&Quot;

During a conference call with analysts and investors, MGM Mirage executives said CityCenter, which is expected to open in 2009, has contracted more than $1.5 billion in residential sales. CityCenter has 2,700 condominium and condominium-hotel units.

MGM Mirage announced it would open a sales center for CityCenter in Dubai by June. Dubai World, the investment arm of the Persian Gulf state, spent $2.7 billion to acquire 50 percent of CityCenter in August.

MGM Mirage also said the budget for the soon-to-open 600-room MGM Grand Macau increased to $1.25 billion from $1.1 billion.