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Bellagio trees planted after Las Vegas Grand Prix die; replacements coming

Updated April 11, 2024 - 5:55 pm

MGM Resorts International hopes to replace 13 dead fir trees in front of the fountains of Bellagio next week.

A company representative on Thursday said MGM, working with its in-house horticulture team and independent arborists, hopes to replace the trees with a heartier species.

“After consulting with third-party experts, we determined that several trees alongside Las Vegas Boulevard need replacing,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We sustainably sourced trees that are designed to be durable and resilient for our environment. Our horticulture and landscaping teams continually evaluate our properties and make changes as needed to ensure we are doing what’s best for our guests and the environment.”

The trees were replacements for mature trees that had been removed prior to November’s Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix race when MGM Resorts International introduced the Bellagio Fountain Club, a 3,600-person-capacity race-viewing area stocked with celebrity chefs for unlimited food and beverage and entertainment. The venue also provided a rooftop deck for views of both the Bellagio fountains and Las Vegas Boulevard where Formula One racers sped by at more than 200 mph.

Tickets to the Fountain Club were more than $13,000 each and the club is expected to return Nov. 21-23 for this year’s race weekend, but MGM executives were criticized for removing the mature trees that lined the Strip.

MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle promised the return of trees and the company delivered them in planters before Christmas.

But most of them have since died.

Once installed, the trees were monitored by the company and its expert consultants weekly. In January, experts gave the trees a clean bill of health.

That changed in March.

The expert arborist in March determined the trees had suffered a setback and it was recommended that they be replaced.

The expert team conducted extensive research on sustainably sourced trees designed to be durable and resilient in Southern Nevada’s desert climate. The experts also consulted with the Southern Nevada Water Authority to choose trees appropriate to the environment for responsible water stewardship.

The company noted that the lakeside pine trees are doing well.

Under current plans, the company plans to install new trees in planters as early as Monday with completion by Thursday or Friday. The project may block the sidewalk and a lane of southbound Las Vegas Boulevard traffic to accomplish the task.

The new trees are being placed in planter boxes so that they can be easily removed in the fall when the Bellagio Fountain Club is rebuilt.

The company provided no estimates of how much the tree replacement would cost.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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