LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - It was conceived as the centerpiece of a thriving Las Vegas -- one of the world's most expensive building projects that would bring back glamour to the Strip and cap an unprecedented three-year economic boom.
Instead the $9 billion development named CityCenter -- touted as the city's most ambitious endeavor -- has come to symbolize a global retail and leisure slump and the city's struggles to come to grips with crushing unemployment and dwindling casino revenue.
In March, Dubai World, the development arm of the United Arab Emirates, sued MGM Mirage, claiming mismanagement and wanting out of further financial commitments. The U.S. company hired bankruptcy counsel, setting off alarms about solvency. And the company was forced to inject an emergency $200 million to keep construction going.
"The events of the last six months have been our Pearl Harbor, economically," said Bill Thompson, gaming expert and professor of public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "CityCenter might be too big to fail. If it opens, it's a dramatic gesture that says we're winning, we're not defeated, we're on the way back."
"If it fails, it would be like a second Pearl Harbor."
Another product of the boom now struggling in the bust. You're going to see this all over the country, particularly malls. And if you thought the home real estate crash was bad, wait until domestic real estate starts crashing. You ain't seen nothin' yet.