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Friday, June 06, 2008, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Apple plans lavish 20,000-sf Las Vegas mega store

As extravagant as hotels in Las Vegas have become, the next stage of uber-spectacular may arrive when the $8 billion CityCenter resort opens next Fall on the city's world famous Strip, and electronics maker Apple Inc. is said to be an integral part of the project.

Developed by Mirage MGM and designed by eight architects with distinctly-different styles, the complex of towers on 76 acres south of the Bellagio hotel will feature lavish condominiums, hotels, casinos and 500,000 square-feet of retail space within several uniquely-designed spaces.

According to people familiar with the project, Apple has been selected to anchor the development's most valuable and prominently positioned retail space on Las Vegas Boulevard, spanning two levels and sprawling over 20,000 square-feet. When it opens in the fall of 2009, there will be three Apple stores in the so-called Entertainment Capital of the World along a four-mile section of the Strip.

The retail and public area of the development, called The Crystals, was co-designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind and Adamson Associates Architects. According to the Libeskind Web site, the retail spaces will be housed, "within crystalline, metal-clad shapes" right along the Strip. "A dramatic entryway into the retail area from the Strip will draw pedestrians into the public arcade, covered by an expressive, spiraling roof structure," the web site states.

The project's public spaces will also allow for a variety of urban experiences, the design firm says, including a water feature at the entry, cafés and a grand staircase leading to Casino Square.

Even compared to standards set by some of Apple's latest high-profile stores, the CityCenter retail spaces are extravagent. Architect's renderings show the storefronts as all-glass, framed by irregular geometric shapes tilted at varying angles. The project is well into its construction, and you can see a live webcam here.

Story co-authored by Gary Allen, creator and publisher of ifo Apple Store, which provides close watch of Apple's retail initiative.

Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center


Las Vegas City Center