Officials look to mid-2019 completion

There’s another Florida Hard Rock operation that has been making some big news lately.

An expanded pool and deck area at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, designed by landscape architecture firm EDSA, will measure the size of a football field and will host a variety of activities. (Courtesy Bitner Group)

While the huge guitar-shaped hotel at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood keeps taking shape and changing the skyline – another significant Hard Rock expansion in Tampa has been underway.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is undergoing an impressive $700 million expansion of its facilities at 5223 Orient Road, about 10 minutes east of downtown.

The work began in 2017, but has begun to ramp up significantly this year, according to officials, in order to make its mid-2019 goal for completion.

The Tampa Hard Rock already boasts the largest casino in Florida, and is one of the largest in the U.S. So what exactly is being done to make things bigger and better? How about:

The job numbers and economic development impact alone are impressive.

The Tampa operation is already one of the largest employers in Tampa Bay with more than 3,500 employees, or “team members.”

“Major expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is further evidence of the Seminole Tribe’s commitment to the people of Florida that it will continue to increase the economic impact of its Seminole Gaming facilities,” Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming said in a statement.

Amenities galore

The centerpiece of the expansion is a new 15-story hotel tower, with an additional 564 hotel rooms and suites. When all is said and done, there will be 800 guestrooms and 88 suites. The top floor of the hotel tower will feature a private gaming parlor for VIP guests, including private elevators to suites.

This is a rendering of the new atrium area of the complex. The total investment in the Tampa project is $700 million. (Courtesy Bitner Group)

Other amenities will include three “ultra-lavish” new outdoor swimming pools adjacent to the second level of the hotel tower that will feature a 120-seat Pool Grille restaurant and bar.

Officials said the expanded pool and deck area, designed by landscape architecture firm EDSA, will measure the size of a football field and will host a variety of activities.

A new 25,000-square-foot Rock Spa & Salon will also open on the second level of the hotel tower and will offer pool-side services. The new spa will replace the existing spa and salon.

Those who like Italian food may want to check out the 200-seat Italian restaurant slated to open next fall – the third fine dining restaurant the property will offer – joining the Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and The Rez Grill.

Concert-goers will be happy to know the 30,000-square-foot Seminole Hard Rock Event Center is under construction on the second level of the casino complex. It includes a 17,000-square-foot grand ballroom for concerts, conventions, trade shows, private events and large-scale poker tournaments, officials said.

Six new retail shops are part of the expansion, bringing the total to eight. There will also be a parking expansion of 700 spaces to bring that total to 6,000.

Architects for the Tampa project are Klai Juba Wald Architects of Las Vegas; and interior designs are by Wimberly Interiors of Coral Gables, Laurence Lee Associates of Los Angeles and Klai Juba Wald Interiors of Las Vegas. The construction team is led by Suffolk Yates.

Hard Rock International has venues in 75 countries and includes 25 hotels and 11 casinos. The company’s two most successful hotel and casino properties are in Hollywood, Florida, and Tampa.

The company recently opened a new hotel in Daytona Beach, and the Hard Rock Atlantic City opened June 28 (after deadline for this issue of the Tribune).

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