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

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The iconic Mirage hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip will shut its doors this summer after more than 30 years, 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 tropical theme as the Strip's first megaresort in 1989, spurring a building boom on the famous boulevard through the 1990s. The name was intended to spotlight the hotel as an oasis in the desert.

Its volcano fountain was one of the first sidewalk attractions, predating the Venetian’s canals and the Bellagio’s dancing fountains.

The Mirage was the longtime home of Siegfried & Roy, who began performing there in 1990 and consistently attracted sold-out crowds, wowing millions with their magic tricks in six shows a week, 44 weeks per year.

The show ended in 2003 after Roy Horn was attacked on stage and critically injured by one of the act’s white tigers. The duo's “Secret Garden,” an outdoor exhibit showcasing the big cats and other exotic animals, closed in 2022.

The hotel has also been home to a popular Cirque du Soleil show set to the Beatles soundtrack, which brought Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr back together for public appearances during an 18-year run. Its final curtain will come 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.

05/15/2024 23:33 -0400

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