Las Vegas: Hard Rock’s renovation plans for The Mirage to be voted on by county commissioners

This month, Clark County commissioners are set to vote on plans for a major redevelopment of The Mirage Hotel & Casino. The proposals include the replacement of the Strip’s megaresort iconic volcano feature with a guitar-shaped hotel tower. The County Commission is scheduled to review the redevelopment plans on March 22.

The property’s new operator, Hard Rock International, is looking to renovate the 3,044-room hotel-casino and build a new 600-room high-rise along Las Vegas Boulevard, all part of its plan to turn the resort into a Hard Rock-branded property.

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

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. It will “forever change the skyline of the Strip,” Lazovich added in her letter, as per Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Hard Rock agreed to purchase The Mirage from MGM Resorts for more than $1 billion last year. Casino landlord Vici Properties owns The Mirage’s real estate and has said its lease with Hard Rock calls for an initial annual rent of $90 million.

Hard Rock, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, unveiled plans for a guitar-shaped hotel on the property in late 2021 when the sale was first announced.

Las Vegas' The Mirage Hotel & Casino.

Casino developer Steve Wynn opened The Mirage in 1989. It was the Strip’s first modern megaresort and immediately drew huge crowds, becoming 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 petition to “save” The Mirage’s volcano garnered 8,795 signatures as of Tuesday evening. “From day one, The Volcano has been delighting The Mirage’s visitors with what is an increasingly rare and totally awesome free Vegas attraction and a highly emotional experience. … Frankly, it should be a historical landmark,” the petition declares, as reported by the Review-Journal.

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.

According to the above-mentioned media, 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.