Las Vegas: Clark County approves Hard Rock’s project to replace Mirage’s volcano with guitar-shaped tower

Clark County commissioners cleared the way for Hard Rock International’s proposed guitar-shaped hotel tower to be developed at The Mirage, a project that would put an end to Las Vegas’ iconic volcano attraction at the property. 

Hard Rock’s plans for the resort, which it now operates since a deal was struck last year, call for a 600-room, 660-foot-tall project along Las Vegas Boulevard, and were approved unanimously on Wednesday. Hard Rock representative Jennifer Lazovich told commissioners the high-rise would be built “right where the existing volcano is.”

She also 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 black-to-back guitars with “brightly lit strings” and would feature floor-to-ceiling glass panes, according to a letter to the company from Lazovich, land-use attorney with law firm Kaempfer Crowell.

Hard Rock acquired The Mirage’s operations from 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 in its lease with Hard Rock calls for initial annual rent of $90 million.

Hard Rock 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 resembles the one planned for Las Vegas. 

When the guitar 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. 

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-resort with heavy amenities. Therefore, a petition on Change-org to “save” The Mirage’s volcano had garnered 8,974 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. 

The petition reads that, 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,” and states that it should become a historical landmark. 

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

Renderings of the project indicate the resort will also have a theater with nearly 3,000 seats, new restaurants, shops and pools. The company stated that the timeline for construction is scheduled to be released later this year.