Hard Rock hotel and casino coming to Lake Tahoe
STATELINE, Nev. — Rumors of a Hard Rock hotel coming to Lake Tahoe proved to be true Thursday, after weeks of speculation as to what would become of the old Horizon Casino Resort. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, a fully integrated gaming resort planned for the South Shore, will replace what was once the Horizon when renovations wrap up in late 2014 or early 2015, according to an official announcement made at Heavenly Mountain Resort. "We're excited," said Don Marrandino, a gaming executive overseeing the operations for the new Hard Rock, adding. "And we're going to be ready to start rocking Lake Tahoe in (the) 2014 ski season." Once completed, the new facility will feature 539 "four-diamond" rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, an assortment of live entertainment both indoors and outdoors and "South Lake Tahoe's largest outdoor pool party," said David Park, a member of the same Park family that gained ownership of the property in March. It will also include a 25,000-square-foot casino with more than 500 slot machines and a wide variety of table games. The entire project will cost more than $50 million to complete. "We're excited about bringing a distinctive, new, resort experience to the area — one that will surely ignite the market," Park said. With music at its core, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's mission is to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience by combining the authenticity of the region with strong music appreciation, according to a press release. With that in mind, Park said presenting live entertainment from high-profile acts is one of the top goals of the planned hotel. "That ought to rock this town," he said, to a crowd of community leaders and stakeholders Thursday. Jon Park, a managing member of Neva One LLC with his brother, David, said the two family members will be "hands-on owners" as the project moves forward. Warner Hospitality will handle day-to-day operations at the new Hard Rock. The company and its affiliates already manage 10 gaming and non-gaming properties throughout the country. Warner Hospitality CEO Bill Warner said he's excited to see the company's entry into the northern Nevada market with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino brand, as well as the Park family. "This, combined with the majestic and natural beauty of Lake Tahoe, will make for a resort-style experience like no other," Warner said in statement. Warner expressed his confidence in Marrandino's ability to make the Lake Tahoe Hard Rock a "must see experience" on the South Shore. Marrandino has over 20 years of senior level experience in the resort and casino industry, as well as a strong familiarity with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino brand. He served as president and COO of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas from 2001 to 2003 and president of northern Nevada/general manager of Harrah's Lake Tahoe and Harveys from 2003 to 2005. In addition to managing the Lake Tahoe project, Marrandino also assists in other Warner Hospitality operations in Nevada, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, according to a Warner Hospitality press release. Thursday's announcement of a new Hard Rock hotel in the area was made about three months after the Park family said that the old Horizon would become the Park Tahoe Casino Resort. Ultimately, the decision was made to transform the property into a Hard Rock hotel, however, and Marrandino said it will be a quality addition to the community. "Let's rock Tahoe," he said.