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Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Undergoes Large-Scale Expansion, Renovation


Morgans Hotel Group Co. (Nasdaq: MHGC) (“MHG”) and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (“DLJMB”) today announced a large-scale expansion and renovation project for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The expansion project will include the addition of approximately 950 guest rooms, including an all-suite 15-story tower with upgraded amenities, approximately 60,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and approximately 35,000 square feet of casino space. In addition, the project includes the expansion of the Hard Rock’s award-winning pool, several prominent new food and beverage outlets, a new and larger “Joint” live entertainment venue, 30,000 square feet of new retail space, as well as a new spa and health club. As part of the project, the Hard Rock’s existing suites and common areas will be renovated to revitalize the property and bring it up to MHG’s best-in-class brand standard. The project, which is scheduled to begin this year, is expected to be fully completed by mid-2009.

Klai Juba Architects is leading the architectural planning of the expansion. The firm, which led the expansion and upgrade of the property in 1999, has also led other highly successful projects in Las Vegas including the Four Seasons Hotel, Sky Las Vegas, and Mandalay Bay.

“With the acquisition of the Hard Rock now officially closed, we are pleased to move forward with our transformation of this legendary Las Vegas property,” said Ed Scheetz, President and Chief Executive Officer of MHG. “The expansion project we are announcing today will increase the size and scale of the Hard Rock and take the property to a new level of sophistication. MHG has been extraordinarily successful in renovating and redeveloping hotels as it has done in the past with Delano, Mondrian, and Hudson. The Hard Rock represents yet another opportunity for MHG to transform and stylize a property to attract the same hip clientele who appreciate the authentic and unique experience we are known for. As each phase of this project is completed, we will be enhancing the Hard Rock’s well-established reputation as one of the most popular destinations in Las Vegas, and we are more excited than ever about its potential.”

The expansion, which is expected to begin during the fall of this year and be fully completed during mid-2009, will add approximately 550 guest rooms in a new tower to be constructed on the existing property site, and will use 8 acres of the adjacent 23-acre land parcel to build a new all-suite VIP tower with an additional 400 suites. The project will also include the expansion of the Hard Rock’s casino and pool, as well as the addition of a new spa and health club and several new restaurants and bars, and a new nightclub. MHG and DLJMB are currently evaluating several options for the remainder of the 23-acre land parcel.

Renovations to the existing property will begin immediately, with upgrades to existing suites, restaurants and bars, retail shops, and common areas, and a new ultra lounge and poker room. These renovations are scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2008, with certain elements to be completed earlier.

Upon completion, the Hard Rock will have approximately 1500 fully modern, state-of-the-art rooms and all of the services and amenities of the larger, impersonal casino hotels, while preserving an intimate and exclusive environment with unique advantages such as its world-class pool and comfortable boutique feel. As previously announced, DLJMB agreed to fund 100% of the equity capital required to expand the Hard Rock property, up to a total of an additional $150 million. MHG will have the option to fund the expansion project proportionate to its equity interest in the joint venture. A credit agreement provides for a loan of up to an additional $600 million for the Hard Rock renovation and expansion.


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