LAS VEGAS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Las Vegas is betting an already-troubled $8.5 billion resort complex will bring customers and tourists back to the recession-ravaged Strip, officials say.
The recession and collapse of credit markets nearly killed the CityCenter project, an "urban metropolis" of hotels, condos and shopping venues, before it got off the ground, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Sunday.
The project's budget has nearly doubled and it almost bankrupted MGM Mirage, the group behind the project.
Financial problems have plagued the project, intended to be a jewel in the center of the historic Strip, since construction began in 2006, the newspaper said.
But an adviser to MGM Mirage thinks the public looks forward to the opening of CityCenter.
"Consumers coming back to Las Vegas are going to hear about this $8.5 billion thing that is supposed to be incredible from a design perspective that they need to look at," Bill Lerner of Union Gaming Group said.
The first CityCenter component to open, the Vdara hotel, will accept its first guests on Dec. 1. A dining, retail and entertainment district opens on Dec. 3, and the Mandarin Oriental hotel and condominium tower will follow on Dec. 5. Other hotels, condominiums, restaurants and shops will open in the first months of 2010, MGM Mirage said.
And Las Vegas is waiting to see if the gamble pays off. "Frankly, everything that has happened in Las Vegas over the years has been a leap of faith," one longtime observer of the gaming industry said. "CityCenter is no different."