MGM Resorts' new sports arena rendering

This is what the new MGM Arena is apparently going to look like.  (Image source:  AEG artist’s rendering)

As Las Vegas continues its slow but steady ascent back into being a gaming superpower, MGM Resorts International and its new business partner, L.A.-based entertainment and arena builder AEG, just unveiled the first renderings for what will be an enormous 20,000-seat stadium to be built on 12 acres situated between New York-New York casino and Frank Sinatra Drive.

Striking Design Concept

In order to make this happen, two office buildings that were erected as part of the CityCenter project will be torn down to make way for the $350-million stadium project, whose design will meld the neon and the nature that make up what has become known to tourists as the Las Vegas landscape.

“In Las Vegas, the design has to be iconic,” said AEG president and chief executive Dan Beckerman in a recent interview. “It’s going to be one of the most recognizable and premier venues in the world.”

The project is expected to open in Spring 2016, according to Tim Romani, whose Denver-based ICON Venue Group is the project manager for the stadium. It’s expected that initial groundbreaking will begin in April or May of next year. Once completed, the arena is expected to host at least 100 events per year, including sporting events such as martial arts and boxing, awards shows, and concerts. It will have, of course, the usual private suites for high rollers one would expect in Las Vegas, where money talks and is treated as reverentially as any visiting dignitary.

“With this entertainment building in a city of entertainment buildings, we feel a responsibility to design a building that offers an amazing fan experience,” said architect Brad Clark, Populous senior principal. Populous is the Kansas City, Mo., architectural firm hired by AEG and MGM to design the exterior renderings of the stadium, which will have a 5.4-acre footprint.

“The arena is really the nexus for finding the balance of the natural surroundings around Las Vegas with the visual energy of the Strip. There’s a very conscious effort to have the two languages merge on the building exterior,” Clark said. The architect added that the entrance will have a glass façade and a 12-story video overlay to impress incoming fans.

Outdoor Entertainment Areas

Project manager Romani says the venue will take advantage of the desert climate by including outdoor party areas on the surrounding balconies.

“People will enjoy an outdoor environment,” he said. “The climate of Las Vegas allows us to have more outdoor balcony space. I can’t think of any arena that has this much balcony space, and I think I know them all.”

Of course, in August when it can hit temps as high as 114F, some nice indoor A/C may be more appealing to stadium attendees.

The stadium is trying to break away from a totally traditional format for such venues, notes designer Beckerman. He says premium seating will encompass both traditional suites that can hold up to 100 guests, and also more intimate ones for just two to four people.

Beckerman also noted that AEG is working to bring in a high-visibility boxing match as one of the first events at the new stadium. But while the new arena is being designed with huge sporting events like NBA and NHL games in mind (we sure hope there’s a powerful cooling system installed, or it’s going to be more like a water polo match), there won’t be any major league sports tenants to start.

“The great thing about the building is that we’re designing it for the maximum flexibility. It gives us a lot of freedom,” the architect said.