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With last beam in place, Hollywood Hard Rock's guitar-shaped hotel is almost finished

Last beam put in place on Hard Rock’s new guitar-shaped hotel

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood topped off its new development. Jim Allen, Hard Rock International & CEO, shares how the ceremony went.
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The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood topped off its new development. Jim Allen, Hard Rock International & CEO, shares how the ceremony went.

It has gone up in a few quick beats, the concrete and metal beams curving into an unmistakable shape. Yeah, that's a guitar all right.

Massive at 450 feet and towering over Florida's Turnpike, the new 638-room addition to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood complex practically belts out to drivers: HARD ROCK THIS WAY.

It's a big play more than a decade in the making. The hotel is the centerpiece of a $1.5 billion complex being built at the tribe's flagship Hollywood property, a project that will also include a larger casino and a new entertainment venue. The idea has been floating around since late 2006, said James Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International.

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Drone image of the progress of construction at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood’s new guitar-shaped hotel tower. It is set to open in fall 2019. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood

"People tell me, 'You're a little crazy to build a hotel in the shape of a guitar,' " Allen said Monday at a "topping-off" ceremony for the hotel, celebrating the placement of the final structural beam.

Seminole Tribe members, construction workers, and politicians gathered Monday to watch as the beam, which had signatures on it from tribal members and workers, was hoisted to the top of the building. It carried with it the flags of the United States, Florida, and the Seminole Tribe, and a small tree, a nod to the Scandinavian tradition of placing a tree atop a newly finished building.

When it opens to the public in fall 2019, the guitar-shaped hotel will include:

  • 638 hotel rooms in the guitar tower, plus 168 rooms in the pool tower overlooking a private cabana area.
  • A 10-acre lagoon-style pool with Bora Bora-style cabanas in the center. The private villas will have private plunge-pool access and butler service. The area will include water-sport activities, such as paddle-boarding. There will also be a day club and private pool area.

  • 3,000 new slot machines, 193 table games, and a 46-table poker room, accounting for a 30 percent expansion of the complex's casino.

  • 30 new restaurants, lounges, and bars.

  • A new 41,000-square-foot Rock Spa.

  • A 6,500-seat Hard Rock Live concert venue, which will house its own television studio and broadcast center capable of hosting awards shows and other events.

  • 21,000 square feet of new retail space.

  • 120,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

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Rendering of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood’s guitar-shaped hotel complex, which will include a 10-acre lagoon-style pool. The tower opens in fall 2019. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood

The guitar-shaped hotel comes to fruition in the wake of a 2017 deal that was made with the state and extended the Seminoles' statewide monopoly on banked card games — including blackjack — at its casinos to 2030. The hotel has long been touted as an economic reward to the state for reaching an agreement with the Seminoles and Hard Rock International. Allen said Monday that the hotel alone had generated about 2,000 construction jobs and is expected to create 2,000 more permanent jobs.

The hotel itself is part of a long-term plan to enhance the Hard Rock brand. Its empire has grown exponentially since the Seminoles licensed the rights to the Hard Rock brand for its Tampa and Hollywood properties in 2004; the tribe then purchased the company in 2006 for $965 million. The brand is in 75 countries.

"When this place is done, the first thought when you hear Hollywood is not going to be California anymore, it's going to be Hollywood, Florida, right here in our backyard," said Christopher Osceola, the tribe's Hollywood councilman. "It's going to put us on the map."

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Housekeepers Chaquana Jones, 27, left-center, and Audrey Boykin, right-center, 49, lift up their cellphone as they and hundreds of employees and construction workers watch the "topping out" ceremony for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood's guitar-shaped hotel on Monday, July 9, in Hollywood. Carl Juste cjuste@miamiherald.com

To be sure, not everyone is thrilled with the new guitar-shaped addition to the skyline, but Allen said the company has only received positive feedback.

"We are overwhelmed with the warm reception we’ve received about how amazing this building is here in South Florida," Allen said. "We truly think this becomes a reason to come to South Florida, not just for the purpose of gaming but to see the world's only to-scale guitar-shaped hotel."

Until at least 2020, when Hard Rock plans to open another guitar-shaped hotel in Barcelona, Spain, Hollywood's hotel will hold that distinction. Two additional guitar-shaped hotels are in the works, Allen said.

And he offered a clue about as to the next one: "Brush up on your Japanese."

Chabeli Herrera: 305-376-3730, @ChabeliH

ard Rock Hotel & Casino,

Hollywood

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