Hard Rock Bristol Construction ‘Moving Fast,’ Early Summer 2024 Opening Targeted

Posted on: September 6, 2023, 08:47h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2023, 08:47h.

When Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol construction began on the permanent resort property in early December 2022, company officials said they expected the $400 million development to take about 18 months to complete. That timeline hasn’t changed roughly halfway into the build.

Hard Rock Bristol casino country music
Work continues on the permanent Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol in Virginia. Construction is progressing on schedule, local officials say, and a grand opening remains on track for early summer 2024. (Image: Kingsport Times News)

Hard Rock Bristol opened a temporary gaming space inside the former Bristol Mall in July 2022. Dubbed the “Bristol Casino — Future Home of Hard Rock,” the interim casino has exceeded revenue expectations and has since added additional gaming machines to accommodate demand.

Hard Rock International, owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is renovating the former mall into a Hard Rock casino. The company is also building a six-story, 303-room hotel adjacent to the mall with an indoor and outdoor pool, a gym, and a convention facility. A later construction phase is to add a second hotel tower with approximately 500 rooms and additional resort amenities.

Construction ‘Moving Fast’

The total indoor square footage of the first phase of the resort, inclusive of the 303 hotel rooms, will span approximately 662,000 square feet. The casino will measure about 90,000 square feet with 2,700 slot machines, 100 live dealer table games, and a Hard Rock Bet Sportsbook.

Though staffing remains difficult in many parts of the country and Southern Virginia, Hard Rock and its construction partners have managed to stay on schedule.

Construction at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Bristol is moving fast, with a shell of a large building visible from the road,” said Bristol Mayor Neal Osborne. “This is incredibly exciting for our city.”

“Over the past year or so, we’ve seen the tremendous positive impact Hard Rock has had on Bristol, from a spike in tourism to increased tax revenues for the entire region, to philanthropic contributions to area nonprofits,” Osborne added.

Hard Rock’s temporary casino is winning nearly $14 million a month from gamblers. Bristol, being the host city, receives 6% of the casino’s monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR). Bristol’s local share is about $840,000 a month.

The town’s share will significantly increase next summer when the permanent casino opens. The provisional gaming space currently houses 908 slots and 29 tables.

Music Components

Hard Rock will of course stay true to its brand in celebrating music at its Bristol venue. Along with a Hard Rock Café stage set to regularly host local musicians, the resort will feature an indoor 3,200-seat Hard Rock Live venue and an outdoor entertainment venue with a capacity for 20,000 people.

Bristol, which is a twin city with Bristol, TN., with the border running down the middle of Main Street, is the “Birthplace of Country Music,” according to a resolution passed by the US Congress in 1998. The claim comes from record producer Ralph Peet in the 1920s recording music in Bristol that he said captured the traditional “folk” sound of the region.

Peet is credited with recording Fiddlin’ John Carson’s rendition of the “Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane.” The cover of the song written by Will Hays in 1871 is widely considered the first commercial recording of what would be later known as “country music.”

Hard Rock Bristol will also feature an array of country music memorabilia, with pieces from legends such as Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Garth Brooks.