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ATLANTIC CITY-When it’s completed in 2012, the MGM Grand Atlantic City will be the tallest building and largest hotel-casino property in this gaming mecca, if all goes according to plan. It’s been in the works for at least two years, and the board of directors of Las Vegas-based parent MGM Mirage this week signed off on building the massive complex.

“Our company has carefully considered the possibilities for our landholdings in Atlantic City,” says MGM Mirage chairman and CEO Terry Lanni. “We believe the success at Borgata demonstrates the eagerness for further evolution of the country’s second-largest gaming market. We will continue to raise the bar, and by doing so hope to re-energize the city’s resort offerings. We believe our new resort will generate very healthy returns for our shareholders.”

The hotel/casino is slated to rise on 72 acres at Renaissance Pointe in this city’s Marina District adjacent to the aforementioned Borgata hotel/casino, which MGM Mirage co-owns with the Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, although the latter is the operating partner for the Borgata. MGM Mirage officials say construction will have a budget in the $4.5-billion to $5-billion range, not including the value of the land and associated costs.

For that $5 billion or so, MGM Grand Atlantic City will bring more than 3,000 new rooms and suites to the local hospitality landscape, arrayed in three themed towers of about 1,000 rooms each. Also part of the plans just unveiled is the largest casino floor in town, with 5,000 slot machines, 200 gaming tables and a large poker room.

A 1,500-seat theater, a variety of restaurant, nightclub and entertainment venues, a spa and some 500,000 sf of retail space round out the package as currently proposed. MGM Mirage has hired architects Kohn Pedersen Fox to design the complex, and the Rockwell Group to head a team of interior designers.

Company officials say they expect to file for Coastal Area Facility Review Act approval late this year or early 2008, and plan to break ground in 2008, leading up to a 2012 opening. The MGM Grand Atlantic City will occupy some 60 acres, with the site’s remaining 12 acres set aside “for future development,” according to a spokesman. The company also owns a 14-acre site nearby. According to a statement issued by the company, “these cost estimates and the design and scope of MGM Grand Atlantic City are preliminary and subject to change.”

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