Monday, May 6, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
MGM Grand announced today a more than $250 million renovation of its Strip resort that includes a new face for its lion head entrance and a convention center.
"What we will see is a personification of the ability to compete with any present and future casino properties in the world," Terry Lanni, MGM chairman, said at a news conference.
Lanni said the trademark lion at Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South will undergo "a tremendous transformation" into a liquid-gold-colored structure more than six stories tall and backed by video walls, water fountains and a multimedia light show.
"When completed, every aspect of this property will bespeak entertainment," Lanni said, referring to the project as the "City of Entertainment."
"You will feel that you are coming here as a guest to the premiere of one of the world's great movies."
The 30-month, four-phase project should "have a very positive impact on the earnings of MGM Grand," said Alex Yemenidjian, president of MGM Grand Inc.
The first phase of the renovation project will begin next month in the restaurant, food court and arcade promenade, and will cost $20 million.
New restaurants include The Brown Derby, Farmers' Market and Griffith Park Observatory.
Phase two will include a $15 million reconstruction of the lion. The building's exterior will feature 80-foot entertainment walls and statues. Multimedia projection and light shows will run continuously.
Next autumn, construction will begin on a 300,000-square-foot convention center costing $45 million.
Later this year, a $60 million entertainment and retail complex, including nightclub entertainment, themed restaurants, retail stores and other attractions, will be built next to the Grand Adventures theme park.
A second entrance costing $5 million will be built along Koval Lane in the middle of next year.
MGM will spend $30 million to renovate 52 luxury suites on its penthouse floor. The company will spend $11 million to upgrade certain casino areas.
The final phase of the project will include incorporating an entertainment theme at the main vehicle entrance on Tropicana. It is estimated this will cost $17 million.
Rounding out the changes are the Emerald City entertainment area receiving a $15 million face lift, the theme park getting $8 million in renovations and the addition of 2,000 parking spaces at a cost of $13 million.