Hard Rock to Say Goodbye to Mirage’s Volcano, Eyes NYC Casino
(Bloomberg) -- Hard Rock International Chief Executive Officer Jim Allen said the faux volcano outside of the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will be torn down as part of a remodeling of the soon-to-be acquired resort.
Allen also said his company filed a request for information to the New York State Gaming Commission, with an eye toward building a casino in the New York City area. Other operators, including MGM Resorts International and Bally’s Corp. are expected to bid for what will likely be three new licenses.
“It will be a very interesting process, but we certainly look forward to continuing to grow our brand,” Allen said in an interview Tuesday.
Hard Rock announced Monday it’s buying the Mirage from MGM for $1.08 billion, giving the Florida-based casino chain a prominent place on the Las Vegas Strip.
The company plans to build a guitar-shaped hotel tower in front of the property, as well as other renovations, such as a live music venue. Its partner, a real estate investment trust, has earmarked up to $1.5 billion for the remodeling. The fate of some older attractions, such as a Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show, have yet to be determined.
“It’s a massive redo,” Allen said.
Hard Rock will lease the Mirage name royalty-free for three years. MGM expects to net $815 million after taxes and fees when the sale closes in the second half of next year, according to a statement.
The deal represents a major expansion for the Hard Rock brand, which is owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe. There was a Hard Rock casino located off the Strip for a number of years that is now owned by Virgin Hotels. The company has for some time been looking for a casino on the Strip, the center of Las Vegas nightlife.
The Mirage, built by casino mogul Steve Wynn, opened in 1989. It’s known for the volcano out front that erupts nightly, as well as its dolphin and tiger attraction. MGM is in the process of acquiring the higher-end Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and Chief Executive Officer Bill Hornbuckle has said he wants to reduce the company’s exposure to Las Vegas. MGM is the largest operator of casinos in America’s gambling capital.
Hard Rock will pay rent to MGM Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns the Mirage land. MGM Growth is in the process of merging with Vici Properties.
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