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Guitar-shaped hotel tower on Strip heads to county for vote

Updated March 8, 2023 - 8:17 pm

Clark County commissioners are slated this month to vote on a project that would change the landscape of the Strip: replacing The Mirage’s iconic volcano attraction with a guitar-shaped hotel tower.

The County Commission is scheduled on March 22 to consider Hard Rock International’s proposed 600-room high-rise at the already-massive resort, county records show.

Hard Rock has indicated it will renovate the existing 3,044-room hotel-casino and build a guitar-shaped tower along Las Vegas Boulevard, all part of its plan to turn The Mirage into a Hard Rock-branded resort.

The musical instrument-shaped project will be an “engineering masterpiece,” according to a letter to the county from project representative Jennifer Lazovich, land-use attorney with law firm Kaempfer Crowell.

At 660 feet tall, the high-rise is designed to resemble back-to-back guitars with “brightly lit strings” and would feature floor-to-ceiling glass panes, she wrote in the letter dated March 1.

It will “forever change the skyline of the Strip,” Lazovich added.

Hard Rock officials were unavailable for an interview Tuesday, a representative said.

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

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 decades-long run in Las Vegas of building huge casino-resorts with heavy amenities.

A Change.org petition to “save” The Mirage’s volcano garnered 8,795 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

“From day one the 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.

The purchase of The Mirage gave the Seminole Tribe, which acquired the Hard Rock brand in 2007, a foothold in Las Vegas Boulevard’s lucrative yet competitive casino-resort business.

The off-Strip former Hard Rock Hotel was separately owned. A group that included billionaire Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, acquired that hotel-casino in 2018 from a Toronto investment giant for around $500 million. The buyers turned the Hard Rock into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in a roughly $200 million overhaul.

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen told Nevada casino regulators in December that his company had the chance to acquire that property but passed in favor of a location on the Strip.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer McKenna Ross contributed to this report.

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