Seminole Hard Rock unveils major expansion plan

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There are some big changes in store for Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. It’s embarking on an expansion worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The nearly $700-million, two-year project is part of a $2.4-billion upgrade of the tribe’s properties in Tampa and South Florida. 

“It is a really exciting day to be talking about a $700 million expansion,” Tampa Seminole Hard Rock President Joe Lupo said.

At the heart of the plan is a new, 15-story hotel tower, adding more than 500 rooms and suites. The tower’s top floor will cater to VIPs, with an exclusive gaming parlour, concierge check-in process, and private elevators to what the casino calls “rock star” suites.

There will be three new pools, a new, 20,000 square foot spa, additional gaming, more restaurants and lots of extra parking.

“We're really changing the property to a full resort destination,” Lupo said. “[Guests will have] a great sense of arrival with an atrium, [a] big chandelier that oversees Elvis Presley’s piano [sitting] on a bed of water,” he described. 

The project also means more local jobs. Lupo says about 1,000 more employees will be needed to staff the massive additions, and that does not include projections for about 2,000 construction site jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs associated with the expansion.

Casino reps are using the word “evolution” - saying when it is done, it will be like nothing Tampa has seen before.

“We’re really excited about what the property will turn into,” Lupo said.

The work is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019.

Among the additions:

- A new 15-story hotel tower with an additional 564 hotel rooms and suites

- Three “ultra-lavish” new outdoor swimming pools

- Expanded pool and deck area

- 25,000-square-foot “Rock Spa & Salon”

- New 200-seat Italian restaurant

- Six additional retail shops

- 700 more parking spaces

- 30,000-square-foot event center, including a 17,000-square-foot grand ballroom