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Hard Rock in Vegas to be expanded

March 13, 2007|From the Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Boutique hotel developer Morgans Hotel Group Co. and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners said Monday that they would begin a $750-million expansion of the iconic Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, more than doubling the number of rooms and adding casino, retail and meeting space.

The overhaul will add 550 hotel rooms and 400 suites in two separate towers, as well as a new spa and health club, pool area, several restaurants and bars, and a new nightclub.

"We absolutely are going to retain the boutique feel of it, but we're doing that in the context of adding rooms," Morgans Chief Executive Ed Scheetz said.

When it is complete in mid-2009, the Hard Rock, about a mile east of the Las Vegas Strip, will have about 1,500 rooms. It is also increasing the size of its concert venue, the Joint.

The expansion to begin late this year comes amid several multibillion-dollar casino developments on the Strip set for completion from this year to 2010.

It uses eight acres of an adjacent 23-acre land parcel that Morgans acquired from the property's founder, Peter Morton, in a $770-million deal announced in May. Plans for the rest of the space are still in the works, Scheetz said.

Scheetz said the upgrade was necessary to keep pace with the hotel's young clients as they aged and demanded better services.

"By adding some of these amenities and these rooms we're able to serve people that love to stay there but today don't necessarily find the room product all that appealing or find all the amenities up to the level they can get elsewhere," he said.

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