Richard Branon has purchased the Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Richard Branson once said, “The fastest way to become a millionaire is to be a billionaire and buy an airline.” Even though he felt this way, he went ahead and made Virgin Airlines and the Virgin brand a global success. Now, he is going into the hotel business in America with the launch of his Virgin Hotels chain.
The first Virgin Hotel opened in Chicago. Conde Nast Traveler named it as the number one hotel in the United States after it opened in 2016. The Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Awards in both 2016 and 2017 called the Virgin Hotel the best hotel in Chicago.
The press release says the next Virgin Hotel in America will be in Las Vegas. With the help of investment partners from Juniper Capital in Los Angeles, Branson just bought the Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The price paid for the hotel and casino to the previous owners of Brookfield Asset Management was not announced. However, we assume it was in the multiple billions.
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It last sold in 2006 for $770 million, which was followed by a renovation and expansion during 2007 that cost $750 million more. It got into financial troubles during the major real estate meltdown in 2008. That was when Brookfield Asset Management took over running the property for investors with the idea to sell the hotel after the economy improved.
Over the next few months, the property will be re-branded as a Virgin Hotel and renovations will be undertaken to upgrade the 1,500 rooms. The hotel will remain open during the renovation. Renovation construction is expected to be completed by 2019.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is located a few blocks off of the famous Vegas Strip at 4455 Paradise Road. It is easily located because of the huge illuminated electric-guitar sign that is out front. Considered a trendy hotel for a hip, younger crowd, it offers live music at the venue in the hotel called The Joint. The hotel also features a popular male-stripper show produced by Channing Tatum that is based on the film Magic Mike.
The Virgin brand has always been known for creating a high-quality experience that is the kind of thing a billionaire would enjoy. It will be fun to see what Branson’s team does to upgrade the hotel. In the press release about the acquisition of the property, Branson says, “I’m really looking forward to painting the town Virgin red.” Branson plans to open other Virgin Hotels in, Dallas, New York, and Washington, D.C.