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CityCenter’s centerpiece hotel-casino dubbed ‘Aria’

MGM Mirage on Monday officially revealed the name of CityCenter’s 61-story, 4,004-room centerpiece resort: Aria.

Designed by noted architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli, Aria’s two curved glass hotel towers and its 150,000-square-foot casino space are expected to open in December 2009.

The name leaked last week while MGM Mirage officials were celebrating the topping off of Vdara, the first of the $9.2 billion CityCenter’s five major hotel and residential projects. The company formally unveiled the name in a statement.

“Aria will be demonstrably different than any resort that has preceded it,” said Bill McBeath, the resort’s president and chief operating officer.

Bobby Baldwin, MGM Mirage’s chief design and construction officer, who also serves as CityCenter’s president and chief executive officer, said last week that CityCenter would open in phases, starting with Vdara in August 2009. Aria will be the final piece of the CityCenter puzzle to open.

Aria will serve as the core of CityCenter, which has 18 million square feet of public space and is considered the largest privately financed development in the United States. Aria will have CityCenter’s only gaming space. The three nongaming hotels are the Mandarin Oriental, Harmon Hotel and Vdara. Veer Towers is CityCenter’s only strictly residential building. The Crystals is a 500,000-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment district.

Aria will also house a Cirque du Soleil theater that will host a production show based on the music of Elvis Presley. The hotel will also display portions of CityCenter’s planned $40 million public arts program.

CityCenter is a joint venture between MGM Mirage and Dubai World, the investment arm of the Persian Gulf state of Dubai.

Baldwin said last week that CityCenter includes more than $600 million in infrastructure. MGM Mirage officials are extending Harmon Avenue from its yet-to-open Interstate 15 overpass through the development, creating Harmon Circle, a raised roadway with off-ramps into Vdara and Aria. Harmon will continue underneath as an east-west connector.

An aboveground people mover system will connect Aria with Bellagio and Monte Carlo.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

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