Written by Russell Meyer
Published: November 15, 2004 at 11:24 AM
MGM/Mirage has finalized plans to build a huge new resort on the property they own between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo hotels. The new resort will be a combination of boutique hotels, a luxury condominium complex, and massive retail center. Project City Center, as the group has dubbed it, will be one of the largest developments on the strip, and one of the most ambitious. The condo complex will compete against the Jockey Club just across the strip, the retail portion will be competing against the newly completed Fashion Mall and Caesar’s Palace’s soon-to-be-completed expanded Forum Shops, and the hotel will compete against THEHotel, a property recently acquired by the MGM/Mirage group. While the construction never stops in Las Vegas, it’s great to see the MGM/Mirage group asserting their near-monopoly. In another 10 years they’ll have properties down the strip all the way to Los Angeles.
The annual gathering of amusement vendors and proprietors begins Monday with a week of conferences and presentations. IAAPA doesn’t usually yield huge announcements from parks or massive expansions from properties, it does typically give theme park fans a glimpse into the future as ride manufacturers display their latest and greatest advances in ride and attraction technology. With theme parks expecting to increase spending in the next few years, many 2006 attractions may be seen for the first time at this year’s exhibition.
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In another twist in this story, union members vote down a deal that would have settled their disagreement with Disney management. While Florida theme park operations are not in danger, the union membership has authorized leaders to call for the first labor strike in nearly 20 years. The main sticking point is on health insurance. Isn’t that a sticking point for all of us? Apparently, the increases in pay do not offset the increases in health care premiums. Unfortunately because of Florida’s “right to work” status, theme park union employees do not have much power as many of their peers do not belong to the union, and could keep the resort running in the event of a strike. Health care has become a huge issue in the country, and I can understand the Disney employees’ hope that their pay increases weren’t eaten up by rising health care costs.
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