Isleta Pueblo breaks ties with Hard Rock

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The Pueblo of Isleta announced Wednesday that it has decided to end its affiliation with the Hard Rock brand.

“While we appreciate the opportunity to have operated under the iconic Hard Rock name, the pueblo has decided it is best to return to its own brand to identify it in this market and with its loyal customers,” stated a press release issued by the pueblo and casino CEO Pamela Gallegos. “The pueblo feels that the future direction of its property should be directed towards its more traditional values.”

The release said that with the change, there will “be more to offer to the tribe and the community.”

The resort has operated under the moniker Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque for almost three years. It previously had been known as the Isleta Casino & Resort.

The casino announced in October 2009 it had entered into a franchise agreement with Hard Rock Hotel Holdings LLC and HRHH IP and would take on the global brand name.

In July 2008, the hotel and casino underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, which included construction of a center bar, a trademark feature of Hard Rock casinos. It was also furnished with $2 million in rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, something the casino is also are known for.

According to the release, the name change will not affect any current staff or operations, but may create more growth and job opportunities for tribal members and other members of the community.

It was unclear whether the brand change would affect the outdoor concert venue, Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents The Pavilion, near Mesa del Sol.

“We, as tribal leaders, have to make hard decisions and we have to be responsible,” said Isleta Pueblo Gov. Frank Lujan in an email Thursday. “To end our relationship with Hard Rock was one of those (decisions). We believe we need to go back to who we were, who we are going forward (as).”

The governor also sent “many thanks” to Hard Rock and wished them well. He advised the public to stay tuned for more information on the casino’s new direction.

(Albuquerque Journal staff writer Michael Hartranft contributed to this story.)


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