The dream was announced on a hot Saturday afternoon, September 9th, 2017. We were under a giant tent setup across the street from 225 Parsons Street. The announcement: plans were in the works to build a entertainment venue, incorporating this historic guitar Mecca. We knew it wasn't going to happen right away, but if everything came together, we would have this amazing entertainment complex celebrating one of the city's most famous exports.

Today, Monday, March 1st, 2021, that dream to one giant step closer to becoming reality. Hard Rock Hotels will redevelop the iconic Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co. site as a new hotel property.and entertainment venue.

"Hard Rock Hotels announced plans for development of a new addition to the REVERB by Hard Rock portfolio, their business casual hotel concept designed to be an energetic cultural hub for connection, creation and inspiration among music fans, locals, and travelers alike. REVERB by Hard Rock Kalamazoo will embody the brand's modern, urban design package, featuring traveler-friendly integrated technology, smart rooms, shared spaces designed for collaboration, and will offer programming highlighting local music, food and entertainment." Hard Rock Hotels press release

Hard Rock is working with Kalamazoo's Plaza Corp, and Indiana based Dora Hotel Company, and here's something very exciting in the announcement. "REVERB by Hard Rock Kalamazoo is expected to be built...keeping a keen eye on maintaining the historic parts of the property."

The project will take over two years to complete and is expected to open in the Fall of 2023. The hotel complex will have typical amenities like a "a bar, brewery/restaurant", a gym, plus banquet facilities and "an intimate auditorium, museum and 'signing room' where many historic artists signed contracts with Gibson.

Not mentioned in the press release is the status and future of the historic Gibson smoke stack, which was in bad shape a few years ago and parts had to be disassembled.

Gibson Smokestack Outside Factory (File photo: Eric Stephens, TSM)
Gibson Smokestack outside the factory (File photo: Eric Stephens, TSM)

Also, in 2017, Heritage announced an alliance with Rolling Stone (the company behind the magazine.) No mention was made of that in today's release.

Touring the building at the original announcement, the site just oozed music history. In two years it will be time to celebrate that history.

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