Greening Glitter Gulch
Project CityCenter: As outlandish as it wants to beLet there be no more illusions about green building entering the mainstream.
In June, construction crews broke ground on two massive green building developments along the west side of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The Cosmopolitan, a resort casino with condos developed by 3700 Associates LLC, is likely to be completed first, opening its doors in 2008.
The $1.8 billion, 2,600-room hotel-condo project will eventually open its doors as the Grand Hyatt Las Vegas, featuring a 75,000-square-foot casino, 300,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, as well as 150,000 square feet of meeting and convention facilities. Although the project has registered with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) program, there are few details about the project’s features just yet.
The site was selected in part because of its proximity to the ambitious Project CityCenter, a $7 billion, 18-million-square-foot, 66-acre green building development from MGM Mirage scheduled for completion in 2009. Project CityCenter is thought to be the largest privately financed development in the United States, said Gordon Absher, vice president of public affairs for MGM Mirage. Residential pre-sales will provide an estimated $1 billion in construction funds, while the remainder will be paid through MGM Mirage cash flows and bank financing, according to an article in AIArchitect magazine.
Despite the high price tag, financial burdens for both projects could be eased by Nevada’s Assembly Bill 3, passed in June 2005. The bill provides partial property tax abatement for developments that meet or exceed LEED Silver standards. Although the details are still being worked out by the state’s Commission on Economic Development, abatements are capped at 50 percent over 10 years.
The Project CityCenter site, stretching from the Bellagio to the Monte Carlo, was formerly occupied by parking lots and the Boardwalk Hotel & Casino. MGM Mirage handled deconstruction of the Boardwalk and is aiming to reuse 80 percent of the materials removed from the site, according to the company.