Morgans Hotel Group a Step Further in Hard Rock Vegas Move

With a massive $750 million expansion and renovation project underway on the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, the resort’s owner, Morgans Hotel Group, has received approval to begin operating the Hard Rock Casino next month. The company received approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to operate the casino at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. MHG and its equity partner, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, expect to begin operating the casino in February. The parntership acquired the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (pictured) for $770 million last February. In March, they announced a major expansion and renovation plan with upgrades projected to total up to $750 million. The ability to operate the casino internally will increase profits for Morgans, a company spokesperson said. Hard Rock has paid Golden Gaming approximately $3.3 million over the last 12 months to operate the casino. On March 12, CPN reported about the expansion project, which will include the addition of approximately 950 guest rooms, including an all-suite tower with upgraded amenities, approximately 60,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and approximately 35,000 square feet of casino space. The project is expected to be fully completed by mid-2009. Morgans has been in the news quite a bit as of late. On Jan. 14, the firm announced a new joint venture with RE:Loft Partners Palm Springs L.L.C. to develop the Palm Springs Hotel & Residences in downtown Palm Springs, Calif. On Dec. 10, Fred Kleisner was appointed president & CEO of Morgans Hotel group. He had served as interim president & CEO since September when W. Edward Scheetz resigned his position. Morgans Hotel Group Co. operates and owns, or has an ownership interest in, resort properties in Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Ariz.,San Francisco, and London. In February 2007, Morgans acquired the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and related assets.