Tuesday, December 12, 2006

MGM Grand to San Francisco? Maybe. Someday.

Using money from the United Arab Emirates, MGM Mirage is looking to develop hotels without casinos, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Right now the company is looking at Abu Dhabi, Las Vegas and the UK. In June it opened the first of three towers that make up a condo-hotel project in Las Vegas, known as The Signature at MGM Grand but not directly connected to any casino properties.

It is not inconceivable the hotel firm could end up in San Francisco, particularly if it abandons the tight focus on casino properties. After all, San Francisco is a key global travel destination, in the top 5 of U.S. cities easily. And there are historic properties like the Palace, Mark Hopkins and Crowne Plaza that could be bought up and re-launched, and opportunity sites in the TransBay Terminal redevelopment area that are either intended for hotels or strong candidates.

Hunting for space now in San Francisco is Starwood Capital Group -- not to be confused with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which was started by Starwood Capital Group but is now unaffiliated. Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht has a new green hotel concept called "1" Hotel and Residences, and has named San Francisco as a potential expansion city, as I reported in October.

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