In the spring of last year, Richard Branson, a British businessman known for the Virgin brand, purchased the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Since that time, a plan has been put in place to transform the property into a Virgin branded option instead of remaining associated with the Hard Rock. This week, the transformation process began, as the Hard Rock Café was demolished.
Changes to Come
The Hard Rock Café of the Las Vegas property is being flattened to create room for parking and ride-share needs. The main hotel and casino building of the property will not be demolished. Instead, it will be revamped to create a space that features the Virgin brand.
The restaurant opened way back in 1990 and closed down in 2016. It is one of two Hard Rock Cafes located in Sin City. The neon sign of the property, which towered 82 feet in size, can now be seen at The Neon Museum.
While the Hard Rock Café is to be no more, the work on the hotel and casino for Virgin will not begin until next year. The property will close, and renovations started on February 3rd. The property is expected to remain shut down until November of next year.
Once reopened, the property will be known as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. It will include 1,500 renovated guest rooms and suites within the hotel as well as a brand-new casino that is 60,000 square feet in size. The casino will be operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. The operator is controlled by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut.
Full Closure instead of Partial
In some cases, during a casino renovation, a property will only shutdown a small portion so that the venue can remain in operation. This is not the case for the Hard Rock. Virgin Hotels revealed that the casino and hotel would be closed fully during the eight months it takes to transform the property earlier this year. Considerations were made to close it partially for a portion of the time, but the operator decided to go ahead and shutdown fully to push the renovation schedule.
The venue will not close until after the Super Bowl, so the casino can take advantage of the big event. According to Richard Bosworth, the CEO of JC Hospitality, the Virgins Hotel property will be revealing their new restaurant and food vendor partnerships later this year.
The company originally planned to spend around $150 million on the project. However, that amount has now been increased to $200 million. The new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas property will mark the first time that the Virgin brand and the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment company have ventured into the Las Vegas gambling landscape.
The tribal gaming company is making big moves as of late, on top of this Las Vegas project. They are one of two bidders for licensing in Athens, Greece and have been busy working on an integrated luxury resort in South Korea.