LAS VEGAS — Where do you start with CityCenter, the 18.6 million-square-foot, $7.4 billion hotel, casino, retail and residential complex on 76 prime acres of this city’s legendary Strip?

It is the largest privately financed construction project in U.S. history. Its workforce is expected to swell to 7,000 tradesmen and 350 supervisory personnel. It is recycling 80 percent of its construction waste.

Incredibly, all components are scheduled to open at the same time — November 2009 — including all of its 2,700 residential units. A soft housing market? Not on this quarter mile of Las Vegas Boulevard between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts where greater than 60 percent of all residences, starting at $500,000, have sold in the past 10 months.

“A majority of our units are the second, third, fourth or fifth residence for our customers,” said Grant Murray, a Vancouver, British Columbia, native who is CityCenter’s vice president of residential sales. “Very few were purchased as a buyer’s primary residence.”

MGM Mirage, which operates 10 casinos on the Strip, is developing the new, vertical, glitzy CityCenter. Demand for residential and retail space has been overwhelming and it will not be the only new guy on the block. At least four new resorts and an estimated 45,000 more hotel rooms are expected in Las Vegas by 2012.

MGM Mirage is pursuing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at CityCenter, which will make the project one of the world’s largest environmentally sustainable urban communities. The development will include an on-site power plant, which will produce all the hot water needed for CityCenter’s hotel rooms and residences. In addition, MGM Mirage said it is recycling 80 percent of the materials from the implosion of the Boardwalk Hotel as well as 80 percent of the new construction waste. The development will incorporate green interior design using renewable, recyclable and sustainable wood, and materials with low emissions.

Let’s take a peek at some of CityCenter’s key residential pieces:

  • The Vdara Condo Hotel, located between the Bellagio and CityCenter’s gaming resort, will have approximately 1,543 residential units including studios, deluxe studios, one-bedroom suites and one- and two-bedroom multilevel penthouse suites, ranging from 500 square feet to 1,850 square feet. Studios start at $625,000; one-bedroom penthouses at $1.4 million. The tower will be the complex’s condo hotel, and residents also will have the option to rent out their units on a nightly basis. Amenities and services for residents and guests will include a spa and salon, pool with cabanas, a fitness center, a destination restaurant, 24-hour concierge service, conference and meetings facilities, in-room dining, housekeeping and valet parking. Exclusive Resorts, a luxury vacation club specializing in private homes, jumpstarted the sales effort by purchasing 78 units for its members. Many are being expanded into larger units.

  • The Veer Towers — two 37-story glass residential high-rises, each with 337 condominium residences — are both inclined at a five-degree angle, hence the name “veer.” Each tower will have a fully staffed lobby and business center plus a top-floor infinity pool, fitness center, spa and a large patio for entertaining. Residences will range from 500 square feet to 2,600 square feet in studios, one- and two-bedroom flats and penthouses. Prices start at $500,000 for a studio. Approximately 60 percent of the condos have been sold since April 20.

  • The Residences at Mandarin Oriental has approximately 227 condominium residences situated on the upper floors of the 400-room hotel tower, with a private owner’s lobby and clubroom. The hope is to mix the prestige of an internationally renowned hotel and resort brand, top-tier amenities and striking architectural design with a five-star hotel and residential experience. Residences will be available in one- and two-bedroom plans, or two- and three-bedroom penthouses ranging from 1,000 square feet to 4,100 square feet. A 2,129-square-foot, two-bedroom unit starts at $3.6 million.

  • The Harmon Hotel & Residences (400 hotel rooms and approximately 228 condominium residences) will reportedly offer the highest standard of service and luxurious amenities for guests and residents in CityCenter. Each room will be unique and offer stylish and fashionable design element, and the hotel’s pool deck will be perched 100 feet above the Strip. Residents will have full access to all hotel amenities, including a private lounge in the lobby, dining, spa, valet parking, in-room dining, housekeeping and much more. The one- and two-bedroom flats and penthouses start at $1.24 million.

  • CityCenter has yet to officially name its 60-story, 4,000-room hotel and casino that will be at the heart of its retail and entertainment district. It will feature high-end retailers, fashionable clubs, gourmet restaurants, galleries and more under “a crystalline canopy” that promises to be the newest landmark on a street of distinctive buildings.

Unlike many markets in the country, there’s no shortage of home buyers — with big money — on the Las Vegas Strip.

To get even more valuable advice from Tom, visit his Second Home Center.

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