Retail, restaurants, public art spotlighted in sneak peek of MGM National Harbor

OXON HILL, Md. — One of MGM Resorts International’s objectives in building MGM National Harbor was to bring a slice of Las Vegas to the nation’s capital while preserving a touch of Maryland hospitality.

Mission accomplished.

“I like to call it an all-star team of all of our properties,” said Bill Boasberg, the resort’s general manager, following a sneak-peek preview of the resort on Monday.

The resort, which resembles a giant docked cruise ship, opens its doors to the public Thursday at 11 p.m., after a VIP reception. It will be Maryland’s largest casino and the closest one to what locals refer to as the DMV — the District, Maryland and Virginia.

“We’ve had Las Vegas people from our company come in and help with the opening this week and they’re amazed at what they see here,” he said.

And, as far as bringing Las Vegas to Washington, MGM has produced multiple tributes to some of its signature Strip properties to what will be the largest of six Maryland casinos when it opens.

Start with the bright and airy National Harbor Conservatory. Like the conservatory at Bellagio, it’s a welcoming pedestrian area filled with more than 70,000 flowers arranged in a seasonal theme. When the doors open Thursday, it’ll have a wintry holiday flavor.

“The conservatory here is actually 30 percent larger than the one at Bellagio,” Boasberg said. “The region hasn’t seen anything like it.”

In addition to the conservatory, Las Vegas’ Bellagio is contributing its Bellagio Patisserie concept, complete with a massive chocolate fountain — smaller than the world-record holder in Las Vegas — at National Harbor.

Reminiscent of the MGM Grand is a restaurant row called The District in a corridor off the conservatory. It also includes a mix of retail among the restaurants populated by Ginger, an Asian restaurant with Chinese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese food; Fish by Jose Andres, which has an outdoor patio where summer clambakes are planned; the Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, a local favorite; Marcus, which will serve American dishes and local favorites; and National Market, a potpourri of quick food choices.

The National Market includes a crabcake outlet, pizza, chicken and doughnuts and a sushi bar.

A celebrity retailer will occupy one of the outlets at National Harbor. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” fame will debut her first standalone SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Boutique at the property.

One of the Las Vegas contributions from CityCenter involves MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren’s passion for publicly displayed art. The company has enlisted artists from the region and a few big names, most notably songwriter, singer and recent Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan, to display their work.

Dylan, whose piece “Portal” is a wrought-iron collage gateway that is literally a portal to one of National Harbor’s casino entrances, is his first artwork put on public display.

Another interesting piece — Chul Hyun Ahn’s “The Wells” — is a collection of five shafts of lights and mirrors viewed through ground-mounted windows that seem to be hundreds of feet deep and are similar to some of the water features on display at Crystals at CityCenter.

But among the 30 art pieces scattered throughout the resort, one that may receive considerable attention is Liao Yibai’s “Fighting Cash,” a 12-by-7-foot polished stainless steel sculpture near the casino porte cochere depicting Benjamin Franklin emerging from a $100 bill and Chairman Mao from a yuan, squaring up for a boxing match.

Another Las Vegas staple — entertainment — will be on full display at National Harbor’s concert theater. Company officials didn’t include it in Monday’s tour, but will open it up Thursday.

The property’s opening act in the theater that can be converted to seat between 3,000 and 4,000 people, will be Boyz II Men. MGM, collaborating with concert promotional company Live Nation, has an impressive lineup of shows planned with Bruno Mars, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Ricky Martin, Joe Bonamassa and comedian Jim Gaffigan on the calendar.

The property’s 135,000-square-foot casino — a little less than the size of Las Vegas’ Orleans casino — has 3,300 slot machines and an Asian table game pit adorned in red and decorated with Chinese lanterns. Some of the slots have USB outlets so that players can charge their cellphones while they play.

The 3,300 slots onsite would be more than most Las Vegas casinos.

Anton Nikodemus, MGM’s chief operating officer of regional operations, said National Harbor is the second piece of the company’s efforts to dominate the mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets. MGM bought out Boyd Gaming’s half of the Borgata, regarded as the dominant player in the Atlantic City market, in August for $589 million.

The company also is building MGM Springfield, the company’s entry in the suburban Boston market. It’s scheduled to open in 2018.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like