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Mirage to be transformed into ‘brand-new resort’ on Strip

Updated December 15, 2021 - 6:28 am

The Mirage will become a “brand-new resort” once Hard Rock International completes the remodel of its soon-to-be acquired property on the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the company’s chairman said Tuesday.

Hard Rock announced Monday that it is buying the operations of The Mirage from MGM Resorts International for $1.075 billion, a move that will put the Florida-based gaming company onto the Strip for the first time. And it intends to make its mark, as the company plans to build a new guitar-shaped hotel tower as part of the resort’s complete rebranding to the Hard Rock name.

But that means other attractions, including The Mirage’s artificial volcano along Las Vegas Boulevard and the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, could go away with The Mirage brand as part of the transition.

“It is our intention that it will feel totally as a brand-new resort,” Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen said in an interview Tuesday.

“I’m 100 percent committed to creating something new,” he added. “Just buying something and putting the Hard Rock brand on it was never in the options.”

The timeline for when those changes will come is less clear, however. Allen said Hard Rock officials don’t have any comment on the time frame for the rebranding, renovations or the construction of the guitar hotel and are focused on closing the transaction, which is slated to happen in the second half of 2022.

MGM Resorts will keep The Mirage name and brand and will license it to Hard Rock for up to three years while that company finalizes its plans to rebrand the property.

Synergistic opportunities

Allen said that Hard Rock, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, had been looking at buying a property on the Strip on and off for the past decade, adding that Las Vegas “is an amazing international destination.”

He said he sees a lot of synergy with the company’s other casino properties, especially in their home of Florida. The company owns and licenses the Hard Rock name to nearly 250 venues, from Hard Rock Casinos, stores, cafes and hotels, across 67 countries.

“I think one of the major reasons for us, we have such a dominant position in Florida, one of the more lucrative states in the country. We certainly know that there’s a tremendous amount of revenue from Florida that visits Las Vegas on a regular basis,” Allen said. “From our viewpoint, we’ll have a product that we’ll be able to offer under our own brand and ownership, and we certainly look forward to that.”

CBRE analyst John Decree, in a note to investors Tuesday, praised the move.

“This transaction highlights the desirability of Las Vegas casinos and underpins our bullish outlook for the Las Vegas Strip. … It was a winner, winner, chicken dinner deal for all parties involved,” he said.

‘A great day for Indian country’

With the Hard Rock, the Seminole Tribe will become the first tribal enterprise to enter the Strip gaming market.

Allen noted that roughly half of the gross gaming revenue in the United States comes from tribal lands.

“I think it’s a tremendous step,” said Allen, who is also CEO of Seminole Gaming. “Tribes have been growing in this category for many years. Certainly I think it’s a great day for Indian country.”

DeCree said the tribe’s involvement will bring additional benefits as the new operators, too.

“The beautiful thing about Native American capital is that it is generational and Hard Rock will be able to do this right without concern for short-term ROI hurdles, which is a positive for all of Las Vegas,” DeCree said.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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