The Cosmopolitan has finally opened on the Las Vegas strip.
The project was supposed to open in August 2008 at a cost of $2 billion. As it turned out, the Cosmopolitan is now opening in sections after possibly costing as much as $3.9 billion.
I had a chance to walk through the Cosmopolitan during CES and was very impressed with the design. My photo above shows one of the escalators as it approaches a brilliantly illuminated ceiling. There are places you can sit and talk far away from the gambling, which is unusual for Vegas. Despite its well-publicized financial difficulties and last-minute technical snafus, this mega hotel-casino is well worth a visit.
The project was begun by Ian Bruce Eichner, who I interviewed almost five years ago for three of the airline magazines. He was excited about the overall scale of the construction, floor-to-ceiling windows, wraparound balconies, and innovative placement of the facilities directly over the sidewalk.
He mentioned he had just been speaking with the MGM about possibly building a double overhead bridge over Las Vegas Boulevard. The two bridges would crisscross all four corners of the intersection to connect the abridging properties. Heady stuff.
Looking through the interview transcription, I found Eichner’s insightful views on the Cosmopolitan’s vertical design:
“The overwhelming preponderance of projects on the strip is, for lack of a better phrase, a horizontal development. In Vegas, land wasn’t an issue. So everything is built like a suburban development. It’s suburban sprawl. You walk distances. The parking garage is to the left. The casino is completely detached from same. The retail is over there. And that is completely different from going to a city.
“What’s the key feature of something that’s urban? It’s vertical, because land is at a premium. In a place like New York, you have huge developments on relatively small sites. If you look at the most recent developments, such as the Time Warner thing, you’ve got quadruple mixed use. You’ve got a garage. You’ve got retail. You’ve got hotel. You’ve got condo. You’ve got office. They’re all stacked one on top of another. The more you have limitations on land, the more you see the evolution of these mixed-used projects.
“So the first thing that distinguishes this project is that it’s a classic urban development.”
Sounds like he had his finger on where construction along Las Vegas Boulevard will inevitably have to go.