NATIONAL NEWS

The Mirage casino, which ushered in an era of Las Vegas Strip megaresorts in the ’90s, is closing

May 16, 2024, 8:18 AM

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14:  An exterior view shows The Mirage Hotel & Casino on December ...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14: An exterior view shows The Mirage Hotel & Casino on December 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. MGM Resorts International has agreed to sell the Las Vegas Strip resort to Hard Rock International for USD 1.075 billion in cash. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The iconic Mirage hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip will shut its doors this summer, the end of an era for a property credited with helping transform Sin City into an ultra-luxury resort destination.

The July 17 closure will clear the way for major renovations and construction on the 80-acre (32-hectare) property, which is to reopen in 2027 as the Hard Rock Las Vegas, featuring a hotel tower in the shape of a guitar soaring nearly 700 feet (about 210 meters) above the heart of the Strip.

“We’d like to thank the Las Vegas community and team members for warmly welcoming Hard Rock after enjoying 34 years at The Mirage,” Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, said Wednesday in a statement announcing the closure.

It will be the second time this year that a Strip casino shutters. The Tropicana Las Vegas closed in April after 67 years to make room for a $1.5 billion baseball stadium planned as the future home of the relocating Oakland A’s.

Developed by former casino mogul Steve Wynn, the Mirage opened with a Polynesian theme as the Strip’s first megaresort in 1989, spurring a building boom on the famous boulevard through the 1990s.

Its volcano fountain was one of the first sidewalk attractions, predating the Venetian’s canals and the Bellagio’s dancing fountains. It was known as a venue where tourists could see Siegfried and Roy taming white tigers or a Cirque du Soleil act set to a Beatles soundtrack.

The final curtain on the Beatles-themed show, which brought Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr back together for public appearances throughout its 18-year run, also comes down in July.

Hard Rock International said Wednesday that more than 3,000 employees will be laid off and it expects to pay out $80 million in severance.

The Culinary Workers Union, which has represented about 1,700 employees at the Mirage since it opened, said in a statement that the contract it won last year ensures laid-off workers will get $2,000 for each year of service. The contract also gives them the option of being called back to work and maintaining their seniority when the hotel reopens.

“Culinary Union will continue to ensure workers are protected and centered in the property’s future,” the statement said.

The Mirage became the first Strip property to be run by a Native American tribe in 2022, after Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, purchased it from MGM Resorts in a cash deal worth nearly $1.1 billion.

Hard Rock said at the time that the property would remain open and operate under the Mirage brand for several years while it finalized renovation plans.

The Mirage is accepting no bookings for after July 14 and said any reservations past that date will be canceled and refunded.

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The Mirage casino, which ushered in an era of Las Vegas Strip megaresorts in the ’90s, is closing