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Opening dateDecember 16, 2009; 12 years ago (December 16, 2009)[1]
DeveloperMGM Resorts International and Dubai World
ArchitectEhrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn (Conceptual Master Plan)[2]
Gensler (Executive Architect)
Foster + Partner (Harmon Hotel)
Helmut Jahn (Veer Towers)
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (Mandarin Oriental)
Pelli Clark Pelli (Aria Hotel)
Rockwell Group (Entertainment District)
Rafael Viñoly Architects (Vdara Condo and Hotel)
Studio Daniel Libeskind (Entertainment District)
OperatorMGM Resorts International
OwnerThe Blackstone Group
Physical features
Major buildingsAria, Crystals, The Harmon, Waldorf Astoria, Vdara, Veer Towers
TransportAria Express (tram)
CityCenter is located in Las Vegas Strip
CityCenter is located in Nevada
CityCenter is located in the United States
Coordinates: 36°06′28″N 115°10′33″W / 36.107725°N 115.17574°W / 36.107725; -115.17574Coordinates: 36°06′28″N 115°10′33″W / 36.107725°N 115.17574°W / 36.107725; -115.17574
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas
LocationLas Vegas Strip
Address3780 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Paradise, Nevada, United States

Aria Campus, commonly known by its former name CityCenter, is a mixed-use, urban complex on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. It is located on 76 acres (31 ha) and contains a total of 16.797-million sq ft (1,560,500 m2). The complex includes Aria Resort and Casino, the Vdara condo-hotel, the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas hotel, the Veer Towers condominiums, and a mall known as The Shops at Crystals. Another hotel, The Harmon, never opened due to construction defects; the site is being redeveloped as 63, a four-story shopping mall.[3]

CityCenter was developed by MGM Resorts International, which partnered with Dubai World during construction. At $9.2 billion, it is the largest privately funded construction project in U.S. history.[4] It was announced as Project CityCenter in 2004, with construction beginning two years later. CityCenter opened on December 16, 2009. The complex is connected by a people mover system to adjacent MGM properties Park MGM and Bellagio.[5] MGM purchased Dubai World's stake in 2021, for $2.1 billion.[6][7]

By 2019, CityCenter had been renamed Aria Campus,[8] after the Aria resort. The "Aria" name has also been applied to other features such as the "Aria Express" (formerly "CityCenter Tram") and "Aria Art Collection" (formerly "CityCenter Art Collection").

General design[edit]

The project straddles Harmon Avenue and is bordered by (listed clockwise, starting on the east side): Las Vegas Boulevard, the Park MGM, I-15, the Bellagio, and The Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino. The site was formerly occupied by the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino, the Bellagio employee parking lot, and several standalone commercial structures.

The conceptual master plan for Project CityCenter, announced on November 9, 2004, was designed by Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, laying out the project with approximately 2,400 condominium and condo-hotel units and approximately 4,800 hotel rooms, distributed within several high-rise towers around The Crystals, an ultra high-end retail mall. It is designed to have all commodities for daily life, featuring a 4,000-room hotel and casino (Aria), two 400-room boutique hotels (The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, with 227 residential condo units, and The Harmon Hotel and Spa), a purely residential offering (Veer Towers), a condo-hotel (Vdara Condo-hotel) and a 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2) retail and entertainment district which was intended to house the first grocery store directly on the Strip (though as of July 2011, there is no grocery on the property). The multi-use project makes extensive use of green technologies, such as using reclaimed water and an on-site power plant. The Mandarin Oriental, Aria, and Vdara all received LEED certification in November 2009.

With a total cost of approximately $9.2 billion,[9] CityCenter is the largest privately financed development in the United States.[10] The original cost estimate was $4 billion, but it was pushed up by rising construction costs and design changes. CityCenter opened with approximately 12,000 employees across the different projects. Vdara, Aria, Mandarin Oriental, and The Crystals opened in December 2009. The Veer Towers opened in July 2010.

Water and ice[edit]

Aria Campus features five water and ice features. These were designed by WET Design, the company responsible for the Bellagio fountain and the Mirage volcano. Three of these features are located at Aria Resort & Casino, entitled Lumia (a musical fountain), Focus (a water wall on the exterior), and Latisse (a water wall inside the casino). The remaining two are located in The Crystals: Halo (freestanding columns of water vortices) and Glacia (ice pillars).[11]


The Perini Building Company was lead contractor on the project, with Tishman Construction Corporation serving as the executive construction manager. Gensler was the executive architect overseeing the project. The project was built in three blocks. Block A consisted of the Aria Resort and Casino and surrounding facilities (HKS, Inc. was architect of record); Block B (Leo A. Daly - AOR) holds the Vdara; and Block C (Adamson Associates - AOR) the Mandarin, Veer, Crystals and Harmon structures.[12]

The last remaining permanent building on the project site, the Boardwalk Casino's mid-rise hotel tower, was imploded May 9, 2006. After most of the design process was complete, construction began without an official groundbreaking ceremony in June 2006. Most renderings of the project were released in September 2006 and some delayed until February 2007. The first concrete was poured on June 26, 2006. Prior to this all of the work was site preparation, including utilities and other infrastructure.[citation needed] A number of construction discrepancies have been found in the project.[13] Construction of various parts of the site were covered by the TV show Build It Bigger in the episode titled CityCenter, Las Vegas.

The building designated for The Harmon was not completed. It was ultimately declared uninhabitable due to construction defects and disassembled from 2014 to 2015.[14]


Six deaths occurred during construction. On February 6, 2007, a 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) steel wall used as a concrete mold fell from a crane, hitting another wall which struck four workers, killing two. On August 10, 2007, a worker died when the counterweight for a construction elevator came down on him as he oiled the machine. On October 5, 2007, a worker fell approximately 50 ft (15 m) while working on the main resort tower.[15] On April 26, 2008, a worker fell approximately 20 ft (6 m) in the south tower of the Aria Hotel & Casino.[16] On May 31, 2008, a worker was crushed and killed when caught between the counter-weight system and the track of a crane.[17]

Other safety practices by workers have caused concern, with some drinking before work in violation of company rules.[18]

Walk off[edit]

At midnight on June 3, 2008, construction workers shut down construction (which had been continuous 24-hours-a-day) by walking off the job to protest safety conditions at the project. The Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council demanded that the general contractor take three steps before they would begin working again: agree to pay for additional safety training for workers, allow national union researchers to examine root causes of safety problems on the site, and allow union leaders full access to the work site.[19]

On the afternoon of June 4, 2008, Perini Building Co. agreed to all of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council's demands and workers resumed work several weeks later at midnight.

Construction gallery[edit]

Design models[edit]


Image gallery

Partnership dispute[edit]

In early 2009, Dubai World sued its joint venture partner MGM Resorts International for breach of contract and thus decided to not make its payment of US$200 million in financing, required to keep the project on track.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26] By April 17, 2009, MGM Resorts International and Dubai World had agreed to a set of terms that would ensure the completion of CityCenter.[27][28]

Major developments[edit]

  indicates a structure that was demolished.

Name Image Height Floors Hotel Rooms Condos LEED certified Notes
Aria Aria Las Vegas.JPG 600 feet (180 m) 61 4,004 0 Gold The Aria Resort & Casino is CityCenter's central feature. It features a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) casino and is the only casino at CityCenter.
Crystals Crystal District.jpg 30 feet

(10 m)

3[29] 0 0 Gold Crystals is CityCenter's 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2)[30] retail and entertainment district.
The Harmon The Harmon Hotel - West Entry - 2011-06-04.jpg 442 feet

(138 m)

27 400 0 The Harmon Hotel was going to be a non-gaming boutique hotel originally set to be 49 stories, but it was cut to 25 stories after construction defects were discovered. On November 13, 2010, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that MGM Resorts International planned to demolish the Harmon Hotel due to its previously revealed defects.[31] The dismantling of the tower began in the summer of 2014 and completed in the fall of 2015.[32] The hotel never opened for business.
Waldorf Astoria Mandarin Oriental - East - 2011-06-04.jpg 539 feet (164 m) 56 392 225 Gold Operated by Hilton Worldwide.
Vdara Vdara - South - 2010-03-06.JPG 578 feet (176 m) 57 1,495 0 Gold Vdara is a hotel-condo tower. It was the first of the CityCenter buildings to be topped out in May 2008.
Veer Towers Veer Towers (2).JPG 480 feet (150 m) 37 0 674 Gold The Veer Towers are twin 37-story condominium towers with the towers leaning in opposite directions, 4.6 degrees from the center.

Auxiliary structures[edit]

Parking Garage and Fire Station #32[edit]

The project also includes a 6,900 car parking garage and several support structures including Clark County Fire Station #32. The Architect of Record was Winston Henderson Associates. Tishman Construction was the Construction Manager. Tooles Contracting Group was the General Contractor.[33] The station opened on December 10, 2009.[34]

Central Energy Plant[edit]

WSP Flack and Kurtz designed the $100 million 9 MW (12,000 hp) central energy plant to provide heating, cooling, and power for CityCenter.

Aria Express[edit]

One of the two trams that run between the Park MGM and Bellagio hotels
Aria Express
Crystals/Aria/Waldorf Astoria
Park MGM Las Vegas Monorail

The Aria Express (formerly and also known as the CityCenter Tram) is a tram that connects Crystals with the Park MGM to the south and the Bellagio to the north. It uses the Cable Liner technology from Doppelmayr Cable Car (DCC), and has two independent rope-hauled parallel tracks and a four-car passenger unit operating on each track. The tram began operations on December 1, 2009, replacing an existing tram which linked Bellagio to Park MGM. The 2,100-foot (640 m) long elevated track can handle 3,266 passengers per hour in each direction. A fully loaded tram can hold 132 passengers.[36]

Fine art collection[edit]

Aria Campus has amassed one of the larger public art collections in the United States, which is valued at over US$40 million.[37] Additionally the Waldorf Astoria has galleries open to the public which feature rotating collections from various artists.

Mega Project Assurance[edit]

CityCenter is credited with utilizing advanced Mega Project Assurance techniques developed by MGM, which resulted in cost savings of over $100 million and enabled CityCenter's completion in 2009 while many other Las Vegas projects were stopped or abandoned during the financial crisis of 2007–08. See: Project assurance


  1. ^ Buck Wargo (2009-12-17). "Analyst: CityCenter's opening will 'push economy forward'". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  2. ^ Architects for the CityCenter project
  3. ^ Segall, Eli (May 1, 2022). "Las Vegas developer bringing more retail to Strip". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  4. ^ Gordon, Alastair (10 June 2010). "Glass Menagerie: As Las Vegas' epic CityCenter opens, will its mastermind, MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren, be seen as a visionary or just another casino developer?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  5. ^ Benston, Liz (2008-05-09). "CityCenter still selling condos despite slowdown". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  6. ^ "MGM Resorts to own CityCenter, buys partner Dubai World's stake for over $2 bln". Reuters. July 1, 2021. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  7. ^ Wargo, Buck (September 8, 2021). "Dubai World set to end 14-year CityCenter partnership with MGM Resorts". CDC Gaming Reports. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  8. ^ Freeman, Aleza (March 13, 2019). "Treat Yourself At One Of Four Five-Star Spas In Las Vegas". Haute Living. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  9. ^ Benston, Liz (2008-05-16). "CityCenter will not all open at once after all". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  10. ^ "CityCenter, Las Vegas". Halcrow. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  11. ^ Velotta, Richard N. (16 December 2009). "Water — swirling, spewing, frozen — to entertain visitors at CityCenter". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  12. ^ RESORT HOTEL/RESORT las vegas blvd s/harmon ave
  13. ^ Report reveals discrepancies at MGM CityCenter project
  14. ^ Jones, Jay. "Demolition of Vegas' never-opened Harmon Hotel to begin in two weeks". Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  15. ^ 'Iron worker falls to death on Strip', Brian Haynes, Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 6, 2007.
  16. ^ 'CityCenter worker dies in fall', Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 29, 2008.
  17. ^ 'Sixth worker dies at Vegas CityCenter project', Reno Gazette-Journal, May 31, 2008.
  18. ^ "Safety issues raised - News -". Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  19. ^ Berzon, Alexandra (2008-06-03). "Workers walk off CityCenter site in protest". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  20. ^ - MGM Mirage Is Sued Over Dubai World Las Vegas Project (Update5)
  21. ^ "CityCenter future in doubt after Dubai partner sues MGM Mirage". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  22. ^ "Despite lawsuit, MGM Mirage plans to finish CityCenter". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  23. ^ The National - Infinity takes MGM to court over Vegas project Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Khaleej Times - Dubai World Unit Sues MGM Mirage
  25. ^ - MGM Vegas Project Considers Bankruptcy: Report[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ - MGM Resorts International Hires Restructure Counsel; Payment Due (Update1)
  27. ^ The National - MGM pays up for Las Vegas venture Archived 2009-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Yahoo! News - MGM Mirage, Dubai reach deal on CityCenter: report
  29. ^ "Crystals at CityCenter". Halcrow. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  30. ^ "CityCenter's Aria and Vdara Achieve LEED Gold Certification". Boutique Design Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  31. ^ City Center Development: MGM Resorts targets Harmon Hotel for demolition
  32. ^ REVIEW-JOURNAL, MARK DAMON LAS VEGAS. "Unfinished Harmon Hotel demolished piece by piece". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  33. ^ "Future Fire Stations". Clark County Fire Department. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  34. ^ KTNV News at 11
  35. ^ "Transportation: Monorails". Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  36. ^ "MGM CityCenter Shuttle, Las Vegas, USA". Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  37. ^ Viva CityCenter

External links[edit]