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MGM Mirage unveils plans for residences

26 October 2006

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – MGM Mirage on Wednesday unveiled plans for residences at the $7 billion Project CityCenter, saying the 66-acre site will include four condominium developments encompassing five high-rise towers.

Units in the development have a price range from $500,000 to $8 million.

A preview center is open at Bellagio, where potential owners can sign an interest list. Sales for all 2,700 residences will begin in January, when MGM Mirage opens CityCenter's 30,000-square-foot sales office on the Strip, which will include model units.

"We're building an interest list for now and our big push will be in January," said Tony Dennis, executive vice president of CityCenter's residential division. "Our goal is to help guide a prospective buyer to the condominium that is the right home of their choice."

The residential choices will include one condominium-only project, two condominium developments that will be built on top of boutique hotels, and one free-standing condomimum-hotel.

Construction on Project CityCenter is under way on the Strip south of the Bellagio. The development's most prominent feature, a 60-story, 4,000-room hotel-casino designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, is beginning to take shape.

CityCenter will also include retail, entertainment, restaurants and other amenities in an urban village setting.

Construction of the initial residential tower is expected to begin in November.

Gaming analysts have been skeptical of the CityCenter condominiums' chance of success because of the large number of residential projects announced or that are under construction along the Strip corridor. However, the involvement of MGM Mirage minimizes some of the concern.

Las Vegas-based gaming analyst Bill Lerner of Deutsche Bank said residential sales are important to MGM Mirage's overall financial picture for CityCenter. He said if the company can sell the units on an average of $1,100 a square foot, the company can reduce its overall costs for project CityCenter to about $4.5 billion.

"I feel pretty good about (MGM Mirage) being able to get the return they are looking for," Lerner said. "My sense is the location and the association with the MGM Mirage portfolio gives them better sense relative to anyone else in the market."

Dennis said an average of 500 couples a day are visiting the preview center. A second preview center is slated to open at The Mirage.

"We have about 3,000 names on the interest list and we hope to be in the five-digit range by January," Dennis said.

The initial construction will begin on Vdara, a 1,543-unit condominium-hotel with units ranging from 500 square feet to 1,850 square feet. Vdara will be built between Bellagio and the CityCenter hotel-casino.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel will have approximately 227 condominium units above the 400-room hotel tower, with the 4,100-square-foot penthouses coming with the highest price in Project CityCenter at $8 million.

A second boutique hotel, The Harmon, will be operated by MGM Mirage. It will have 228 condominiums above its 400 hotel rooms.

In both hotels, condominium owners will have use of the hotels' amenities.

The Veer Towers, twin 37-story condominium high-rises, will be CityCenter's only pure residential-only development with units ranging from 500 square feet to 2,600 square feet.