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Las Vegas' recession-era building boom: By the numbers
Sin City has been hit hard by the economic downturn, but new mega-resorts keep opening. Can they possibly turn a profit?
 
Guests at the new Cosmopolitan mega-resort can sip cocktails in a bar incorporating a three-story chandelier.
Guests at the new Cosmopolitan mega-resort can sip cocktails in a bar incorporating a three-story chandelier.
Getty

Times may be unusually tough in Las Vegas, but that hasn't slowed the city's production of ostentatious new hotel-casinos. Last week, the $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened, targeting sophisticated urbanites who might otherwise shun Las Vegas. (Watch a Cosmopolitan ad.) Construction began in 2005, when Vegas was thriving, only to be beset by delays, financial problems, and the nagging question: Does the "struggling" city really need another mega-resort? Local mogul Steve Wynn calls it "an extraordinary example of ill-conceived plans." Here's a guide to the city's defiant building boom, by the numbers: 

$3.9 billion
Reported price tag for the completed Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

$1.8 billion
Initial cost estimate in 2005, when construction began

$760 million
Size of the loan on which the Cosmopolitan's developer, Ian Bruce Eichner, defaulted in early 2008

$1 billion
Amount a Deutsche Bank affiliate paid to buy the Cosmopolitan out of foreclosure in March of 2008

52
Number of stories the Cosmopolitan features

13
Number of restaurants in the Cosmopolitan — which claims to offer enough "world-class cuisine to please any New York foodie"

4
Number of bars and lounges incorporated into the complex, including one in which guests sip drinks within a giant, three-story chandelier

100,000
Size, in square feet, of its casino

2,995
Number of guest rooms the Cosmopolitan offers, across two towers

148,000
Number of guest rooms already available in Las Vegas

8.5
Unusually small number
of acres the Cosmopolitan occupies. "Most Strip resorts sprawl across as many as 100 acres, so the Cosmopolitan has a vertical, intense feel that is intended to be like an urban environment."

59 million
Number of Americans that Cosmopolitan CEO John Unwin has identified as the "curious class" — people who see themselves as creative and "broad-minded" and seek out "foreign foods" and travel. Unwin believes that tapping this demographic will be the secret to the Cosmopolitan's success.

$8.5-8.7 billion
Estimated cost of the CityCenter, a mega-mall incorporating Aria, a 4,004-room hotel and casino with similar ambitions that opened a year ago as a joint venture with MGM Resorts. "At that time, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren insisted there were large swaths of well-heeled people seeking this metropolis feel on their vacations," notes Steve Friess at AOL News.

$1.27 billion
Operating loss accumulated by the year-old CityCenter in the first nine months of 2010. According to MGM financials, it's now worth about one third of its cost

$122.9 million
Operating income generated by the Bellagio, a "top-performing" luxury hotel-casino and neighbor to the Cosmopolitan, in the first nine months of 2010. "Analysts say that just to cover its debt," the Cosmopolitan will need to do better than the Bellagio, which has nearly 1,000 more rooms.

$156 million
Amount investor Carl Icahn paid in bankruptcy court earlier this year to buy the Fountainebleau Las Vegas, a mega-resort under construction. Icahn hasn't said when he plans to finish it (at an estimated cost of up to $1.5 billion)

31.5 million
Number of visitors to Vegas in the first 10 months of this year, a 2.8 percent improvement over last year

33 million
Number of visitors to Vegas during the same period in 2007

Sources: AOL News, Las Vegas Sun (2), Real Estate Bloggers, MSNBC, Times Colonist

 

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