CityCenter’s Shops at Crystals selling for $1.1 billion

Crystals at CityCenter on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

The luxurious Crystals mall on the Las Vegas Strip is being sold to two real estate companies for about $1.1 billion, its owners announced today.

CityCenter Holdings LLC said it is selling the mall to Invesco Real Estate and Simon Property Group, with the transaction expected to close by the end of June. CityCenter is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Infinity World Development Corp., a subsidiary of Dubai World.

The mall, known formally as the Shops at Crystals, opened with the massive CityCenter development in late 2009. It features more than 324,000 square feet of luxury shopping space and flagship stores from such brands as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Prada, Fendi and Tiffany & Co.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren, who has long indicated interest in selling Crystals, said in a statement today the sale “demonstrates the strength in Las Vegas as a premier destination for visitors around the world.” He called the buyers “ideal stewards” to maintain the quality of Crystals and “usher in a new era of success.”

The transaction gives Simon even greater control over some of the most prominent retail spots in Las Vegas. The company already owns the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets and the Las Vegas South Premium Outlets.

CBRE broker Matt Bear described Simon as among the best mall operators in the industry and said its involvement with Crystals would only benefit the upscale shopping destination. He said the sale was also a good move for MGM Resorts.

“Running a mall is a very specialized and difficult business if it’s not what you do every day,” Bear said. “MGM knows how to run a very good gaming and entertainment company. Running a mall, especially one that has top-tier luxury retailers, is just a totally different set of sensibilities.”

The $8.5 billion CityCenter, which struggled to open amid the recession and almost went bankrupt, has recently reported strong financial results. Aside from Crystals, the development also includes the Aria resort, Vdara, Mandarin Oriental and the Veer Towers.

Crystals reported $69.1 million in net revenue last year, up from $66.5 million in 2014, according to MGM Resorts. Its operating income was $18.3 million in 2015, compared to $16.4 million in 2014.

The high-end mall’s often quiet, museum-like feel does not indicate it is performing poorly, Bear said.

“It’s significantly more successful than the local perception,” he said. “It’s a different model than the Fashion Show or even the Forum Shops that need all those people. Crystals just needs the right people.”

David Simon, chairman and CEO of Simon Property Group, said in the statement that the Crystals acquisition gives his company “an extraordinary opportunity to obtain a high-quality asset in a growing marketplace.”

“We look forward to perpetuating and building upon the successful foundation that CityCenter has created to further distinguish The Shops at Crystals as a leading retail destination,” he said.