June 06, 2018

Cordish's $200M Live Hotel opens

On June 6, 2012, Live Casino debuted in Hanover with champagne, hors d'oeuvres, cigar rollers and other Las Vegas-style revelry.

Wednesday — exactly six years later — the neighboring Live Hotel, expected to further boost the casino's fortunes, officially opened its doors to the public.

This opening was decidedly more demure, though no less important to Live developer Cordish Cos.'s game plan to cement its spot among Maryland's highest-earning casinos. A more festive grand opening celebration next month will feature entertainment and a red carpet with celebrity guests.

"It isn't often you get to open a glorious hotel on your sixth birthday," Cordish Cos. CEO David Cordish said Wednesday. "When we do business, we've learned the only way to do it is to constantly reinvest and to connect with your loyal customers and see what they want... When we opened (the casino) and started interacting with our guests, one of the things they told us was they'd like a world-class luxury hotel."

The resulting 350,000-square-foot Live Hotel offers 310 guest rooms, a concert venue, two restaurants and a spa and fitness center. The $200 million property is the tallest building in Anne Arundel County at 17 stories high. While some of the upper-level luxury suites aren't open yet, all available rooms have been rented out for the hotel's first official night, a Cordish spokeswoman said.

At a topping-off ceremony for the hotel last fall, Cordish predicted it would be a "game-changer" for Live in its push to compete with MGM National Harbor casino in Prince George's County and Horseshoe Casino in South Baltimore. Live Casino reported $52 million in revenue last month, a 13.4 percent increase over May 2017. Only National Harbor brought in more money, with revenue of $62.3 million. 

"They're good operators and I love the competition," Cordish said of MGM. "They've had an advantage of a hotel and event center since the day they opened. We couldn't do that — we didn't have the land."

Baltimore-based Cordish Cos., which owned about 9.5 acres of land near the Arundel Mills Mall six years ago, eventually amassed close to 30 acres — enough land to make the hotel possible.

Now that it's open, "it'll be a good fight," he said. "The bulk of our customers come from the south: they come from Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George's County, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. We do alright from Baltimore, but that's the real battleground."

Rob Norton, president of Cordish Global Gaming, declined to share the company's projections for how the hotel business will affect casino revenues.

"We spent $200 million on this project and we feel it is a sound investment, and look forward to investing and growing further," he said.

Hotel rooms range in size from about 430 square feet to 2,000 square feet for each of the property's three penthouses. Deluxe suites start at about $189 a night.

Amenities include the lobby-level David's restaurant and bar, which offers 24-hour service and a menu inspired by Cordish's world travels. Offerings include all-day breakfast — Cordish's favorite meal — as well as classics like burgers and steaks, seafood, Italian dishes and Asian-inspired plates like hot and sour sea bass. Luckies, also located in the lobby, sells gelato, pastries and coffee drinks.

A second-floor boutique spa and fitness center offers massages, skincare from Villa Floriani, nail and hair services and an outdoor patio area for parties.

The hotel is opening with a 1,500-seat concert venue that will eventually be expanded to accommodate 4,000 people, with 40,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. That work will take place in 2019.

Norton said the mix of high-rolling guests and guests from the general public would vary based on day and time of year. While the hotel is likely to be reserved mostly for VIP guests on New Years Eve, there could be "quite a few (available rooms) on a typical Monday or Tuesday night."

"What we found is there was a real demand in this area," he said.

Cordish called the property "a step above anything in the region."

"Every now and then you have a moment where you actually exceed your own expectations — this happens to be one of them," he said.  

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