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MGM National Harbor

HKS Architects

Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

MGM National Harbor

Project Status


Year Completed



1,000,000 sq. feet



  • Eddie Abeyta


  • HKS Hospitality Group
  • SmithGroup JJR

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The MGM National Harbor Casino opens today, Dec. 8.

Today, HKS celebrates the opening of MGM National Harbor, a new $1.4 billion entertainment destination located on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Encompassing more than 1.7 million square feet, MGM National Harbor features a 24-story hotel; more than 125,000 square feet of gaming space; 15 dining options, including three celebrity chef restaurants; 18,000 square feet of high-end retail; a 3,000-seat theater; a 27,000 square-foot destination spa; and 50,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. HKS led the overall design and planning for the entire project.

"In addition to being a premier entertainment destination – visitors to the Capital Region and local residents now have a world-class gaming experience at their footsteps – MGM National Harbor is a striking landmark and gateway to Maryland,” said HKS Principal and Design Director Eddie Abeyta, AIA, LEED AP, who led the design team. “We were inspired by the site’s high-profile hilltop and waterfront location where Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia all come together, and we sought to design a monumental landmark that the community can be proud of.”

MGM National Harbor also draws inspiration from the strength and timeless qualities of the capital’s architectural legacy. A preference for “white architecture” was established to respect the marble structures in the District, and the vision called for a landmark tower inspired by the Washington Monument.

In addition, precedents established by the District’s historic urban plans – the 1791 L’Enfant Plan and the 1901 McMillan Plan – were interpreted as organizing devices that give meaning to the architecture. For example, MGM National Harbor is organized along a central spine – like the National Mall – connecting one sequence of guest experiences to the next. Guests enter the property through an oval conservatory – like many of D.C.’s circular parks – that is both a focal point and a means to access other parts of the building.

“Due to MGM National Harbor’s high visibility and nearby proximity to the capital, our architectural vision embodies a modern, bold and progressive design, while respecting the traditions of the District’s architecture and sense of place,” Abeyta added.

Project Credits
Design Architect: HKS Hospitality Group . Eddie Abeyta (design director)
Architect of Record: SmithGroup JJR

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