Aria marquee is expected to be in place early next year

Aug 28, 2012 3:09 AM

MGM Resorts has big plans for the Las Vegas Strip, plans that will provide improved visibility for the company’s CityCenter complex at its cluttered mid-Strip location where first time visitors sometimes find it difficult to tell one front door from another.

I remember my conversation with a Strip newcomer who was looking for Aria, the CityCenter center­piece. He spent several minutes wandering through the adjacent Cosmopolitan before discovering he was in the wrong place.

CityCenter CEO Bobby Baldwin figures a new giant Aria marquee that is expected to be in place early next year should be the answer to the confusion of tourists who may wonder exactly where the CC complex begins and ends.

There have not been any facts and figures offered yet but Baldwin contends the new marquee with its “biggest on the Strip” digital display will drive increased foot traffic into Aria and all of CityCenter. “It will increase visibility,” he adds, not that Aria has been doing badly. The recently completed second quarter saw hotel occupancy stay above 90 percent for the entire April-June period, the first quarter that this has been the case.

MGM CEO Jim Murren figures visitor numbers are looking up for all of Las Vegas this year, thanks to such aids at the new McCarran terminal. Look for total visitor numbers to pass 40 million for all of 2012, he says.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. He can be reached at [email protected].