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Five aces line up to work on massive Vegas casino complex

A host of high-profile international architects has been assembled to design a new $5 billion (£2.8 billion) project on the Las Vegas Strip.

Norman Foster is one of five top-name practices picked by casino giant MGM Mirage to mastermind the 1.7 million m 2CityCenter development in the heart of the Nevada gambling mecca.

The others are: Cesar Pelli, Rafael Viñoly, James KM Cheng and Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF).

The scheme, which is being officially unveiled today (15 September), will be five times larger than the world-famous Bellagio hotel and casino complex, also in Las Vegas.

It is understood Foster will be responsible for designing one of two 400-room 'boutique' hotels, alongside KPF.

Meanwhile, Cesar Pelli is to draw up plans for the main 4,000-room hotel and casino that will stand at the centre of the project.

The scheme will also include almost 47,000m 2of retail, dining and entertainment spaces, as well as 1,640 luxury apartments - the majority of which will be designed by Viñoly and Cheng.

Speaking prior to the launch, MGM Chief Executive J. Terrence Lanni said: 'We don't want to have one of those college campuses that takes on the design of its latest owner.

'We want to create a city-centre core in Las Vegas.'

Lanni said the massive project is being made possible by the burgeoning 'condo boom' in Las Vegas. 'People have never though about the Strip as a place to live until now,' he said.

'Condos will finance a lot of what we will be doing.'

Earlier in the year Gensler was appointed as executive architect on the project, which is expected to open its doors in late 2009.

by Richard Waite

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