by Michael J. Shapiro | April 24, 2013

MGM Resorts International detailed plans Monday for the district surrounding the 20,000-seat arena it is developing with AEG. The gaming giant promises an outdoor plaza -- with shops, restaurants, bars and people-watching -- that will connect the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos to the arena, which stands to the rear of the two properties. Construction on the outdoor venues will begin in the coming weeks and should wrap up in early 2014. "Our vision is to extend the excitement we traditionally create within our world-class resorts outside onto the Strip," said MGM chairman and CEO Jim Murren, "and ultimately in an entertainment district leading to our new arena." The facades of the two resorts will be transformed to accommodate a series of outdoor casual bars, restaurants and shops. At New York-New York, the skyline and Brooklyn Bridge will be modified to make way for a two-story Hershey's Chocolate World and expanded patios for the existing Nine Fine Irishmen pub. At Monte Carlo, the European-style exterior will be removed to accommodate new tenants, including the Double Barrel restaurant, the Sambalatte café and the 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria. Between the resorts and leading back to the new arena will be a park, with dining pavilions, performance spaces and areas "for quiet relaxation." Among the F&B tenants will be Danny Meyer's Shake Shack. MGM has named a number of development partners for the district; together with AEG, the companies expect to announce an arena architect in the coming weeks.