LAS VEGAS-While “no deals have been signed” for the 470,000 sf of retail, restaurant and entertainment space that will link two hotels in MGM Mirage’s $7-billion, mixed-use Project CityCenter, a worldwide search is underway for unique retail concepts. So says an MGM Mirage spokeswoman who tells GSR that published reports that Prada, Chanel and Gucci are in the developer’s sights are incorrect. So is a report that the retail will all be upscale.”We’re looking to do things unlike anything that exists in Las Vegas retail,” she says. “Those companies do exist here. We’re not ruling them out, but should they come to Project CityCenter, it would be in a way that is different from the operations they already have in Las Vegas.”Furthermore, she says, “there will be a combination of space devoted to different retail and restaurant market levels that will certainly also contain entertainment. We have teams researching all over the world for what’s new, what’s hot and what’s going to be new in retail,” she adds.Sobella, a name that has been given to the retail component, she says, “is just a working label for the retail/restaurant area. It’s taken from South of Bellagio, but the retail will actually fit within the Project CityCenter umbrella.”Bloomfield Hills, MI-based Taubman Centers Inc. is partnering with the developer on the retail segment of the complex. It has inked a fixed-fee contract with MGM Mirage for a term of approximately 25 years. Under the agreement, which commenced in June 2005, Taubman is providing development and design advisory services and will also lead the retail leasing effort. The value of the contract is undisclosed.Calling Project CityCenter “one of the most exciting mixed-use developments ever undertaken in the US,” Robert Taubman, chairman, president and CEO, says, “Our organization is energized by this extraordinary opportunity.” Taubman’s experience with “point-of-difference retail and relationships with leading merchants around the world will complement and help fulfill the vision of this world-class complex,” he adds.The goal is to deliver “the best possible combination of elements for this unique urban-like district on the Las Vegas Strip,” says Frank Visconti, president of retail for MGM Mirage, in a statement. “The retail, dining and entertainment venues will play an integral role in the personality, atmosphere and, ultimately, the success of CityCenter. The mood and the environment created by them will be one of the trademarks of this new Las Vegas experience.”The so-called Sobella section will come online in the final phase of development of the 66-acre complex, which is located on the Strip between Bellagio and Monte Carlo. The entire development includes approximately 2.3 million sf of residential space, a 4,000-room hotel and casino and two 400-room non-gaming boutique hotels. MGM Mirage bills it as “the largest privately financed development in the US.”It “will redefine the Las Vegas experience and influence contemporary urban design throughout the world.” says Terri Lanni, MGM Mirage chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Project CityCenter confirms a cultural and lifestyle revival of city living, reaffirms the growing sophistication and maturity of Las Vegas and sets a benchmark for new growth and exciting new experiences as the city moves into its next 100 years.”Elements in the master plan incorporate features that are designed to make it among “the world’s largest environmentally sustainable urban communities,” says Robert Baldwin, president and CEO of Mirage Resorts. They include garden roofs to reclaim rainwater and a central, $100-million energy plant to power and cool the complex. The developer plans to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the entire 18-million-sf complex.The opening phase, a two-tower CityCenter Hotel & Casino, designed to contain 155,000 sf of gaming space, will break ground this year. Completion of all phases, including retail, is scheduled for November 2009.

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