CityCenter Projects Opening with Galas
Six construction worker fatalities on the mammoth project figured prominently in OSHA’s Oct. 20, 2009, critical report on the Nevada OSHA agency’s performance and earned a Pulitzer Prize in April for the Las Vegas Sun.
Gala, black-tie openings are taking place this month at CityCenter, an $8.5 billion, 67-acre development on the Las Vegas Strip where six worker fatalities figured prominently in OSHA's Oct. 20, 2009, critical report on the Nevada OSHA agency's performance. Outside experts have said the development is currently worth less than half what it cost to build for the two joint venture partners, MGM MIRAGE and Infinity World Development Corp., a subsidiary of Dubai World, but at last the project's properties can begin to recoup some of the cost, despite a weak economy. CityCenter recently offered a 30 percent price reduction to buyers of condominiums and condo-hotel units who consummate existing purchase contracts and execute an addendum to their existing purchase and sale agreement.
ARIA, a 61-story gaming resort, will open Dec. 16. Mandarin Oriental and Vdara Hotel have opened, as have the Veer Towers residential buildings and Crystals, a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district. The Mandarin Oriental and Veer Towers earned the CityCenter's fifth and sixth LEED® Gold ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council; the partners say their "metropolis" of 18 million square feet "is one of the world's largest sustainable communities."
But it was the safety of construction workers at CityCenter and another project, Cosmopolitan, that made headlines earlier this year. The Las Vegas Sun won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in April 2009 for its coverage of worker fatalities on the Strip and the state OSHA agency's oversight of safety there. After 7,000 workers walked off the sites one day to protest the safety situation, Perini, the contractor, brought in experts from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training to conduct a safety culture survey and extensive retraining.
A Dec. 2 editorial published by The Las Vegas Review-Journal called CityCenter "a once-unimaginable advancement in the Las Vegas brand, in style, sophistication and service" and added, "Is this the bellwether of a recovery in Las Vegas? It's cause for hope, certainly, that CityCenter will draw millions of visitors who otherwise wouldn't plan to come to Las Vegas anytime soon -- and that those visitors will spend their hard-earned dollars on the city's newest amenities. But much work remains before those in the hospitality industry can stop looking over their shoulders. Monday's announcement that Binion's would close its hotel and lay off about 100 workers was further proof we're not out of the woods -- and won't be for quite some time. Everyone in Las Vegas will have to grind it out and keep believing that better days lie ahead, that anything is possible. Let CityCenter be our inspiration, at least for now.”