April 11, 2019

Best in Real Estate 2019: Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland

FIRST PLACE: Live! Hotel

Developer: Cordish Cos.

General Contractor: Tutor Perini Building Corp.

Architects: Klai Juba Wald Architects

Interior design:
Cleo Design; Laurence Lee and Associates

There's no doubt that competition among Maryland's six casinos is fierce. They must battle each other — and casinos in neighboring states — to lure visitors to their gaming floors. MGM National Harbor, the last casino to enter Maryland, came out swinging, with a swanky hotel and a live performance space that has attracted Cher and other big-name acts.

But the Cordish Cos. wasn't going to be outdone by Las Vegas glitz. The Baltimore developer knew all along that its Live! Casino near Arundel Mills Mall needed a hotel if it was going to become a destination resort. Live! Casino opened in 2012.

The Live! Hotel opened last May with 310 rooms, a conference center and a stunning art collection curated by Suzi Cordish, wife of Cordish Cos. Chairman David Cordish. The $200 million hotel's arrival is a game changer in the rather staid hotel scene in Anne Arundel County. It's not only the highest building at 17 stories high, but it also brings a level of upscale hotel the county hasn't seen before.

"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," David Cordish said when the hotel opened.

The property also gives Anne Arundel County a performance and event venue that county officials say was sorely needed. A 40,000-square-foot event center is under construction that will be able to hold 4,000 people for concerts, community events and graduations.

"I think we recognized that the success of what we had done to date with the casino really created an opportunity to further invest in the property and broader region," said Jonathan Cordish, principal and director of finance at Cordish, in a recent interview. "We wanted to create a true regional destination and broader entertainment experience."

Cordish said the company wanted to create a hotel with a "clean, modern aesthetic" different from typically ornate casino hotels across the country.

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. Cordish's favorite meal — breakfast — is offered all day. For those stressed out about losing money on the casino floor, there's a spa and fitness center.

Live! Hotel's impact on the community goes beyond its offerings. The hotel and casino employ about 4,000 people, with about 600 dedicated solely to the hotel.

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