MGM unveils plans for possible National Harbor casino -- Gazette.Net


MGM Resorts International unveiled its design for a resort at National Harbor, and its CEO reiterated Wednesday the company’s promise to bring more revenue and high-paying jobs into Maryland if the company is offered the state’s sixth casino license.

The planned MGM National Harbor is designed in a monument style, sitting atop a gradual 90-foot slope that looks like the steps leading to a Washington, D.C., landmark.

Jim Murren, MGM Resorts International CEO and chairman, said the focus was making the building fit into the National Harbor area’s style and culture, avoiding the Las Vegas style of other famous MGM hotels and casinos, like the Bellagio.

“We knew we had to be as respectful as possible,” Murren said. “What makes sense for Las Vegas doesn’t fit in at National Harbor.”

MGM Resorts International is competing with Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Racing for a casino license in Prince George’s County, which would be the first in the county. The three companies will present their full casino proposals to the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission on three different dates with each presentation featuring a tour of the proposed facility location, the applicant’s pitch to the commission, and a public hearing that will feature a public presentation by each company and the chance for the public to testify before the commission, according to a commission news release.

Penn National Gaming, which runs Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, will present Oct. 21. Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino owner Greenwood Racing will present Oct. 23, and MGM Resorts International will present Oct. 25. Each presentation to the commission and public hearing will take place at Friendly High School, located at 10000 Allentown Road in Fort Washington. A final decision is expected by the end of the year, Murren said.

The media briefing Sept. 25 was the first time MGM Resorts International had shown the public its upcoming resort, designed by HKS Inc., an architecture firm headquartered in Dallas. During the unveiling, Murren said MGM will uphold its promise to bring international revenue and high-paying jobs to Prince George’s County if selected to build the resort.

Murren said the resort will create about 2,000 construction jobs and more than 4,000 resort jobs with about 400 different categories, and cost more than $800 million to build. He said the emphasis on hiring will be in Prince George’s County.

“It won’t be a challenge to find talented men and women in Prince George’s County,” Murren said.

Edward Abeyta, HKS Inc. senior vice president, who designed the building, said the location at National Harbor and the surrounding monuments in the District, inspired him to build a structure that respected National Harbor’s style.

“This region of the county is one of my favorite in the world,” Abeyta said.

The building will be 1,600 feet long and will feature a seven-story parking garage built into the design of the building, Murren said. At one end of the building will be an 18-story hotel that Abeyta said would give patrons a view of the Potomac River and the District monuments.

Murren said the meeting Sept. 25 was only a snippet of what’s to come with more specific information related to the more than 4,000 jobs, local contractors and restaurants to be released Oct. 25 when MGM makes its presentation to the commission. Area businesses and vendors can get more information on opportunities with MGM National Harbor at a vendor fair that from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 27 at Camelot of Upper Marlboro, located at 13905 Central Ave.

“When you are playing poker, you don’t reveal your whole hand,” he said.