The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino unveiled an opulent piece of its ongoing $720 million expansion on Thursday: A 24K gold leaf piano owned by Elvis Presley, the centerpiece of an atrium near its new hotel desk.
But the unveiling came with a bit of Tampa Bay concert news: The Hard Rock is opening a new performance space. And it's going to open with an A-list headliner in October.
Keith Urban will headline the grand opening of the Hard Rock Event Center, a new 1,500 to 1,800-capacity ballroom and concert venue, on Oct. 4. Tickets are on sale now for $196 and up. Click here for details.
The new venue will not be as lavish as the one in the Hard Rock's new guitar-shaped hotel in Hollywood -- the one that has Maroon 5 booked for its grand opening in October -- or even the popular Hard Rock Live concert venue in Orlando. It will feature retractable eating and a removable stage so the space can host conventions, parties and other events.
But Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen said they hope to have 80 to 100 nights of entertainment there per year, which would represent a significant step up from the handful of shows booked at the Hard Rock Cafe.
"We now have something on property for our guests that we didn't have previously," Allen said.
While most of the musicians, comics and other performers on hand won't be as big as Urban, Allen said the hotel will be booking special acts on occasion.
"Some acts obviously have the ability to fill stadiums, and some do well with 1,000 to 2,000 (seats)," he said. "But that doesn't mean we can't create 10 nights a year where we might just create that excitement for a big-name act, just to have a more intimate environment to play in. Some artists still do that very receptively."
Contact Jay Cridlin at email@example.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.