NATIONAL HARBOR – Although the finishing touches are nowhere near close to being put on the project, the MGM National Harbor casino, resort and entertainment center are on pace to be finished by the second quarter of 2016.
“This location is fantastic for many reasons. We think we’re the epicenter of the entire region. This will be the best resort on the East Coast. I’m excited to get started,” Bill Boasberg, the general manager at MGM Resorts International, said. “We’re still on time and, like with any construction process, it’s dependent on the weather. But we’re still on track.”
According to Boasberg, the facility is still on pace to be completed by that date. There are currently 10 cranes operating on site and just over 1,000 workers under the Whiting-Turner contracting umbrella.
Whiting-Turner, who is the general contractor on the project, is overseeing the construction. There are “lots of” subcontractors under them working on the project as well, Suzette N. Meade, vice president of regional communications for MGM Resorts International, said.
Though it is not the same size as other MGM facilities in Las Vegas, this facility will be the perfect fit for the region, Boasberg said.
The facility will face south toward Potomac River and Alexandria, Boasberg said, and will feature a pool on the southern end of the facility as well.
There are three entrances on each side of the building for parking garages. The loop around the facility will feature one-way traffic with one entrance and one exit to ease the flow of traffic around the facility.
“The site was designed with traffic flow in mind. That’s why we have three lanes. That’s why we have one-way traffic. That’s why we have an entrance on one side of the building and an exit on another,” Boasberg said. “So we don’t have to cross traffic. The entire building was designed from a flow perspective, including the garage.”
The hotel tower on the north side of the facility will be 24 stories high and will hold 308 rooms in total, including 234 deluxe guest rooms. The facility will also hold 18,000-square-feet in retail options, including between 14 to 16 different store fronts. There will be 12 food and beverage outlets as well.
“We really are just scratching the surface in terms of the details of the consumer experience around the resort,” Meade said. “As we start talking more and more about what this resort is going to be, hopefully you have that good foundation. Because next year is going to be pretty power packed in terms of all the elements of the resort.”
MGM is currently in contract talks with businesses to fill those spaces, but none have been selected yet. There are some floors that are already up on the facility and the theater room, which can turn into a boxing arena, is nearly completed.
The main elevator core will be in the middle of the garage, Boasberg said, which will stretch throughout the entire base of the facility. The elevator will rise to the middle of the facility in the casino.
The facility will have 100 different employee classifications and 3,600 different employees once it begins operating. General recruitment for the positions will begin in the first quarter of 2016, Boasberg said.
Prince George’s County residents and local residents will be considered the top priority for hiring, Meade said. The county has been a “good partner” for MGM and hopes to bring business to National Harbor for other places in the area as well.