The Kats! Bureau at this writing is a familiar outpost: Dunkin’ Donuts at Hard Rock Hotel. This property has become the talk of the town (or at least the talk of Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue), with all the projects in development.
Suffice to say that “Magic Mike Live” is not the only strip performance at Hard Rock at the moment. The hotel is shedding the famous Hard Rock Cafe’s neon Gibson guitar sign at the corner of Paradise and Harmon. For the full song and dance, read on.
The city’s most famous 80-foot-tall guitar is headed for Neon Museum, to be displayed in January along with the dozens of other historic, decommissioned signs. Officials with the Neon Museum confirmed today the sign is being delivered to the attraction, but with no time line is set for its transport.
The back story of this visage is worthy of a rock musical. The Hard Rock Cafe closed on New Year’s Eve, leaving the future of the sign in question because the cafe didn’t actually own the piece. The sign company Yesco actually owned that sign, in an agreement with Hard Rock Cafe’s parent company dating to the restaurant’s opening in 1990. In essence, Yesco built the sign and charged HRC rent to display it at the restaurant.
As Hard Rock Hotel chief operating officer Jody Lake said this afternoon his company attempted to purchase the sign from Yesco for $1 as Hard Rock Cafe closed, but a deal was never formalized. Under that agreement, the hotel would have assumed any renovation, refurbishment or transportation costs from the sign (one of Lake’s ideas was to tilt the sign on its side, appearing as if it was being played, for the trip to the Neon Museum).
Instead, Yesco itself has donated the sign to the Neon Musuem, which of course is thrilled to have the piece. It needs work, naturally. This is a 27-year-old sign with aged neon effects and many of the bulbs have burned out, never to be replaced. But it is a piece of history and has found an apt retirement home.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.