LAS VEGAS-The first Hard Rock Café on the Las Vegas Strip will open this July with some high technology mixed in with its music industry memorabilia, a company source confirmed Tuesday afternoon. The new three-level, 42,000-square-foot establishment adjacent to the Showcase Mall will be the second largest Hard Rock Café in the world.Components will include a 700-seat restaurant with an outdoor patio overlooking the Strip, a 1,000-person concert and events venue, two bars and a retail store. The technology will come in the form of a touch screen wall will let customers pick music videos to play, and restaurant booths will feature web-enabled interactive tabletops by Microsoft.

The building developer is a joint venture of City Center Retail, LLC, a San Francisco-based development company, and Angelo Gordon & Co., a New York-based investment firm. The partnership acquired the former Denny’s restaurant property in early 2005 along with the adjacent, 190,000-square-foot Showcase Mall, which is well leased by the likes of Coca Cola, M & M’s, United Artists Theaters, adidas and Gameworks.

The duo paid $142 million for Showcase Mall and an additional $10.8 million for the 0.8-acre site where the Hard Rock Café is being completed, according to county records. JP Morgan Chase provided $92 million in permanent financing for the mall. Nevada State Bank provided acquisition financing for the adjacent parcel.

At the time of the purchase, City Center Retail had plans for a residential-over-retail development on the Denny’s that was to incorporate a new Denny’s restaurant. Construction was scheduled to commence in early 2006 and take no more than 18 months to complete. The new plan to develop the first Hard Rock Café on the Strip was announced in September. The Hard Rock Café’s local SVP Peter Lin could not be reached Tuesday afternoon for comment on the company’s early performance expectations in light of the current economy.

The outside of the building will be accented with a three-story guitar, the neck of which doubles as the elevator shaft. The first level of the Café will include a 3,364-square-foot retail shop. The second level will house the bar and main restaurant area, which including a 1,642-square-foot outdoor patio will total 7,000 square feet. The third floor will house the concert and events venue and another main bar area.

The Hard Rock Café chain is controlled Hard Rock International Inc., which is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. There are approximately 123 Hard Rock Café’s worldwide, including more than 40 in the US.

“The Las Vegas Strip location can best be compared to New York when we moved the Hard Rock Cafe New York from 57th Street to Times Square, where we have tripled sales, and Boston, where we recently relocated the cafe to the Fanueil Hall area and enjoyed incredible success,” Hard Rock International CEO Hamish Dodds said last fall.

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