New park near MGM arena showing signs of green

It might not be drawing all the publicity as its neighboring arena project on the Strip, but the new park under construction next to New York-New York that will lead people from the Strip to the $375 million arena is showing its first green signs.

Mature trees such as acacia, mesquite and palo verde, landscaping including native and desert-adaptive plants and planters made from local-quarried sandstone are being installed for the “microclimate” in the 5.5-acre park.

Called the Park, the new area leads to a plaza and, then, the 20,000-seat arena being built by MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).

The arena, park and plaza are scheduled to open in April. AEG and MGM Resorts are partnering on the arena and plaza, and MGM is building the park by itself. MGM Resorts is spending $100 million on the park, including costs for the New York-New York and Monte Carlo plaza renovations, while MGM and AEG are sharing the cost for the new plaza serving the arena.

The park’s trees, shade structures and misting system being built are expected to lower temperatures by 10 degrees and offer a cool refuge from life on the Strip, said Don Thrasher, president of Park District Holdings LLC, an MGM Resorts International subsidiary.

The park entrance near the Shake Shack restaurant at New York-New York is the main pedestrian entry to the MGM-AEG arena for people walking along Las Vegas Boulevard. Passing foot traffic is 30,000 daily, Thrasher said this week.

Park visitors will stroll about 800 feet on a paved walkway made from 2-feet-by-2-feet marble cobblestones, with various patterns and colors, before reaching the 75,000-square-foot plaza.

The park runs along New York-New York’s northern side and will include five indoor-outdoor food and beverage outlets linked to New York-New York. MGM Resorts will own two of the food places, national brands will run two others and a local group will manage the fifth food spot, Thrasher said.

The park will include eight fixed kiosks, too, he said.

In all, about 200 trees are being planted through the park, along the plaza perimeter and a gentle-curving road that will lead from the Strip to Monte Carlo. The road, formerly Rue de Monte Carlo, is now called Park Avenue and was realigned to include the gentle curves.

The park will have no grass, but crews are installing native landscape that can cope with the region’s desert climate.

The plaza of just less than 2 acres will lead to the front of the arena, which is already adorned with glass. The arena is expected to host more than 100 annual events such as boxing matches, concerts, basketball games and Ultimate Fighting Championship shows. It will also host a National Hockey League team if the NHL approves prospective owner Bill Foley’s bid for a new franchise. A new NHL team could play as early as the 2017-18 season.

Contact Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel.

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