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Guitar-shaped hotel tower in tune with Strip, county says

Updated March 22, 2023 - 3:52 pm

Clark County commissioners cleared the way for a guitar-shaped hotel tower to be developed at The Mirage, a project that would spell the end of Las Vegas’ iconic volcano attraction.

The County Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved The Mirage operator Hard Rock International’s plans for the 600-room, 660-foot-tall project along Las Vegas Boulevard.

Hard Rock representative Jennifer Lazovich told commissioners the high-rise would be built “right where the existing volcano is” and indicated the company plans to “modernize and theme” the rest of the property to match the guitar tower.

Her client has said it plans to turn The Mirage into a Hard Rock-branded resort.

The proposed tower is designed to resemble back-to-back guitars with “brightly lit strings” and would feature floor-to-ceiling glass panes, according to a letter to the county from Lazovich, land-use attorney with law firm Kaempfer Crowell.

Joe Lupo, president of The Mirage, said in a statement to the Review-Journal that the Hard Rock thanks county commissioners and staff for the approval “as we continue to move forward with this iconic property.”

Towering guitars

Hard Rock acquired The Mirage’s operations from casino giant MGM Resorts International in December for more than $1 billion in cash. Casino landlord Vici Properties owns The Mirage’s real estate and has said its lease with Hard Rock calls for initial annual rent of $90 million.

Hard Rock — a hospitality and entertainment chain owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida — unveiled plans for a guitar-shaped tower on the property in late 2021, when its acquisition of The Mirage was first announced.

The company is known for its giant decorative guitars, and it already built a 450-foot-tall guitar-shaped hotel tower in Florida that looks like the one planned for Las Vegas.

When the guitar tower opened in 2019 as part of a $1.5 billion expansion at the Seminole Hard Rock casino-resort, Hard Rock said its six high-powered light beams project at least 20,000 feet into the sky, mimicking the strings of an imaginary guitar neck.

‘It should be a historical landmark’

Casino developer Steve Wynn opened The Mirage in 1989. It was the Strip’s first modern megaresort and immediately drew huge crowds, and became known over the years for its volcano and lengthy run of Siegfried &Roy performances.

The project also kicked off what’s now a decadeslong run in Las Vegas of building huge casino-resorts with heavy amenities.

A petition on Change.org to “save” The Mirage’s volcano had garnered 8,974 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

“From day one The Volcano has been delighting The Mirage’s visitors to what is an increasingly rare and totally awesome free Vegas attraction and highly emotional experience. … Frankly, it should be a historical landmark,” the petition declares.

Nonetheless, when county commissioners discussed the guitar tower Wednesday and opened the hearing for public comments, no one stepped forward.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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