Hard Rock’s Newest Theme

Hard Rock Café International is building a $400 million theme park in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that is expected to open in spring 2008.

The 150-acre Hard Rock Park, more than five years in the making, is expected to bring about 30,000 people a day to see attractions featuring rock’s culture, lifestyle, legends and irreverence as well as rides, live music, restaurants and shops.

The park will have 40 attractions in six zones, according to The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, including a roller coaster and an amphitheatre.

The project begins just months after one of the beach town’s most popular landmarks, the Pavilion Amusement Park, announced it would close this fall. It had been a staple for 50 years while other parks in the area came and went, but officials have confidence in Hard Rock.

“There’s a big difference” with this project, Gov. Mark Sanford said. “Money talks. … These guys have the money in the bank.”

The first piece of memorabilia delivered to the site was the Beatles’ Magic Mystery Tour bus, which was used to transport officials to the project’s July 13th groundbreaking ceremony.

Jimi Hendrix will also be represented at the park but officials are still working out the details with Experience Hendrix, which handles the late guitarist’s estate.

“We think it’s going to be a great park, and Jimi should be there,” Bob Hendrix, VP of Experience Hendrix, told The Sun News.

Hard Rock is lending its name, entertainment ties, and marketing clout to the project but funding comes from a group of private investors, including investment firm Africa Israel, which is run by diamond mogul Lev Leviev.