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:
Reported price tag for the completed Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Initial cost estimate in 2005, when construction began
Size of the loan on which the Cosmopolitan's developer, Ian Bruce Eichner, defaulted in early 2008
Amount a Deutsche Bank affiliate paid to buy the Cosmopolitan out of foreclosure in March of 2008
Number of stories the Cosmopolitan features
Number of restaurants in the Cosmopolitan — which claims to offer enough "world-class cuisine to please any New York foodie"
Number of bars and lounges incorporated into the complex, including one in which guests sip drinks within a giant, three-story chandelier
Size, in square feet, of its casino
Number of guest rooms the Cosmopolitan offers, across two towers
Number of guest rooms already available in Las Vegas
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
Number of visitors to Vegas in the first 10 months of this year, a 2.8 percent improvement over last year
Number of visitors to Vegas during the same period in 2007