Tuesday, June 3, 1997 | 11:32 a.m.
The MGM Grand's expansion is expanding.
The company today announced additions and enhancements that will increase its investment to more than $700 million for the ongoing transformation of the 114-acre, 5,000-room hotel-casino into "The City of Entertainment." The company previously had announced a $250 million expansion plan.
The plans call for:
* A new 1,500-room "Marriott Marquis at the MGM Grand."
* Expansion of the resort's casino capacity by nearly 20 percent to more than 200,000 square feet.
* A "Mansion at the MGM Grand" offering 30 exclusive suites and villas
* A 380,000-square-foot conference center.
* A 6.6-acre Shangri-La pool and spa complex.
* Significantly expanded and improved parking facilities.
* A new 45-foot polished bronze lion sculpture on a 25-foot pedestal -- which will be the resort's signature -- adjoining a re-themed entertainment casino that will include a Rainforest Cafe and a nightclub.
The company also announced that by the year 2000, it plans to begin construction of a 500-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel at the MGM Grand.
MGM Grand, Marriott International Inc. and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. have agreed in principle, subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements, to develop the Marriott Marquis and Ritz-Carlton hotels. MGM Grand will be the owner of the hotels with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton serving as the management operators.
Terry Lanni, MGM Grand Inc.'s chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Our affiliation with the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton organizations will afford us access to the world's most extensive marketing and reservation system."
Marriott's reservation system generates 33 million reservations annually and is staffed by more than 1,600 salespeople throughout the world. It provides toll-free, 24-hour-per-day access and a distribution network of more than 19,000 user terminals. Marriott International Inc. has operations in the United States and 50 other countries and territories.
Alex Yemenidjian, MGM Grand Inc. president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said, "Other than the Ritz-Carlton, the entire City of Entertainment will be completed by the end of 1999. We expect that approximately $500 million of the project will be financed from the company's free cash flow, while the remaining amount will be drawn from the company's $1 billion credit line."
Lanni and Yemenidjian also emphasized that, because of the locations where most of the construction will take place, the company expects minor, if any, construction disruption.
The Marriott Marquis at the MGM Grand is scheduled for completion by the fall of 1999. In addition to its 1,500 rooms, the hotel will feature 40,000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, two restaurants and lounges.
A new 30,000-square-foot casino will be built adjacent to the new Marriott Marquis at the MGM Grand, bringing total casino capacity at the MGM Grand to more than 200,000 square feet.
The Mansion at the MGM Grand, featuring 30 private suites and villas, will be offered exclusively to select MGM Grand casino guests. Inspired by Tuscan architecture, these private suites and villas will range from 3,000 to 14,000 square feet. The villas and suites will be enclosed by an atrium containing formal gardens. The Mansion will have indoor and outdoor pools.
Construction of The Mansion at the MGM Grand will begin this year and is scheduled for completion in late 1998.
The conference center is currently under construction and will open in March. This 380,000-square-foot facility will include a 63,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a 50,000-square-foot column-free ballroom space, both of which can be divided into multiple meeting rooms.
The front of the MGM Grand on Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue is being rethemed. A 45-foot polished bronze lion will rest atop a 25-foot pedestal. The lion, weighing 50 tons, will be the largest bronze sculpture in the United States, company officials said. The sculpture will be framed by water fountains and extensive landscaping.
Other features of The City of Entertainment currently under way include upgrades to the MGM Grand's casino areas and rooms; major improvements and additions to the MGM Grand Adventures theme park; and redecoration of the resort's 52 penthouse luxury suites.