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LAS VEGAS-The owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino are in the process of hiring 1,200 employees to staff a $760-million expansion that is on track to open this summer. Morgans Hotel Group Co. and its equity partner DLJ Merchant Banking Partners have already filled 400 positions and plans to fill the remaining 800 positions before December.

Kirvin Doak Communications, the resort’s public relations firm announced the mass hiring on its Twitter feed Tuesday evening in advance of a press release Wednesday morning. The resort also has set up its own Twitter feed through which it will post job openings. A series of job fairs will be held on property throughout the summer.

New York City-based Morgans and DLJ acquired the gaming resort here from Peter Morton in early 2007 for $770 million. The 11-story, 650-room resort sits on 16.7 acres on the burgeoning Harmon Avenue corridor. Built in 1995 and first expanded in 1999, the popular music scene destination includes a 30,000-sf casino; a beach club; the Body English nightclub; the Joint concert hall; five restaurants; three cocktail lounges; several retail stores; and an 8,000-sf spa, salon and fitness center.

The expansion will bring 875 additional rooms, 60,000 sf of meeting space, 35,000 sf of retail, a new spa and a new nightclub. The project also included a renovation of the existing facilities including and an expansion of the casino and pool, two new restaurants and a new lounge.

The new hotel rooms will come in two new 15-story towers, one on the existing casino-hotel property that will have 500 rooms and one 400-room, all-suite tower on a piece of the adjacent 23 acres that were included in the sale. The adjacent land was acquired with plans and entitlements in place for a $1.2-billion hotel expansion and condominium development. The condominium piece was subsequently shelved.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is located at the east end of Harmon Avenue, one mile east of the Las Vegas Strip. The new jobs add to the 10,000 that are being hired to operate CityCenter, which will open 7,000 hotel rooms, a casino, and food, entertainment and shopping venues late this year where Harmon Avenue meets the Strip.

Thousands more jobs will be added next year to staff the Cosmopolitan resort rising next to CityCenter as well as Fontainebleau Resort at the north end of the Strip, assuming they are both completed. Clark County’s unemployment rate in April is estimated at 10.4%, up from 5% in April 2008.

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