Is Las Vegas coming to Canada? Proposal submitted to build $5.1 billion MGM Resort Casino in Calgary, AB.
grand city of Calgary, Alberta is in need of cash, and MGM Resorts
International has it to spare. The Las Vegas corporation is willing
to hand over hundreds of millions in exchange for the city’s and
province’s approval on a plan to host a Vegas-style gambling resort.
submitted plans for a massive, fully-integrated Las Vegas casino in
Calgary, Alberta. The project, start to finish, including
contributions to the city, will cost MGM $5.1 billion. That’s a fine
price to pay, but one the Vegas company is readily willing to pay for
$5.1bn MGM Resort Casino in Calgary, AB
to the submission by MGM, the new resort would be as grand as any Las
Vegas casino. MGM is looking to build a massive entertainment and
accommodation package on 22 acres at 1075 Street SE; in the Rivers
District just south of Fort Calgary. Its location includes the
current site of Calgary Transit’s Victoria Park Garage.
proposal calls for a grand, international-scale complex that will
A hotel with 1,450 guest rooms, spanning 3.2 million sq.ft.
60,000 sq.ft. of hotel guest amenities (indoor pool, spa, fitness room, etc.)
120,000 sq.ft. casino floor with 2,000 slot machines and 300 table games.
Live event theatre with 1,500 seats.
Comedy club theatre with 300 seats.
150,000 sq.ft. of meeting and convention space.
400,000 sq.ft. indoor shopping mall with mid-to-high end shops.
22 restaurants, including a Vegas-style buffet with 500 seats.
Underground garage with 4,500 parking stalls.
MGM’s Vision for a Las Vegas Casino in Canada
says the redevelopment of the property will see the resort, casino,
restaurants, mall and commercial aspect take shape on the easternmost
parcel of the property. It is to be housed within the 40-story,
564-ft tall tower and 8-story podium. Along the river’s edge will be
a new public boardwalk, complete with access to restaurants and
retail shops. It will also become home to Calgary’s largest outdoor
patio, featuring 2,000 seasonal seats outside a 40,000 sq.ft.
what MGM resort casino would be complete without a massive gold lion?
A 40-ft high replica of the famous MGM lion will stand tall along the
the western side of the plot will stand a trio of towers up to 60
stories in height. The lower three levels will become home to
additional restaurant and retail space; the upper levels being
reserved for high-end housing units.
Resorts International Chairman Christooh Kerker shares the company’s
vision in this morning’s statement:
“Our vision for MGM Grand Calgary is to create a world-class entertainment destination that is unique to not only Calgary but Canada. Today’s announcement is the largest step we’ve taken with our development to date, and we are excited for the opportunity to become a member of this community.”
believes the casino resort will become “a new reason to visit
Calgary”; a shining “beacon for economic and tourism activity”.
Not only that, it will inject $270 million in essential funding into
the city’s coffers.
$270 Million PBP for City of Calgary
the proposal passes all necessary phases of passage, MGM will hand
over $270 million to the city. It’s what they call a “public
benefits package” (PBP). That money includes $200 million
towards sports, events and cultural infrastructure (new NHL arena for
the Calgary Flames); $49 million to pay for road infrastructure and
utility improvement in and around the property; $10 million to the
community’s public art program; a one-time donation of $11 million to
Alberta’s gambling addiction programs.
anything, I see that last bit being an issue of contention. The
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLCC) may not be
content with a “one time” payment to these programs. In many
countries, facilitators of gambling are the largest funders of
anti-addiction programs. Odds are, Alberta won’t look kindly on MGM’s
proposal to wash their hands of any future obligations.
the other hand, Alberta is in serious need of MGM’s deep pockets. The
casino would guarantee to provide Calgary with at least $90 million
in annual revenue. The city’s commercial property values are
plummeting, down $14 billion already; a figure that cost the
government $250 million last year. Similarly, the AGLCC is reporting
gambling revenue on the decline.
the MGM resort casino in Calgary does get all the necessary
approvals, construction could begin early as 2023. That would put the
eastern complex on schedule to open in late 2026 to early 2027. As
for the western side’s retail and high-end housing, construction
would likely take place 2029, dependent on the condition of the
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