Gibson’s former Kalamazoo factory will soon become a Hard Rock hotel

The Hard Rock Reverb Kalamazoo is expected to be completed in 2023.

Gibson Factory Kalamazoo

Photo: Keith Howard via Kalamazoo Public Library

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Gibson’s former factory grounds in Kalamazoo, Michigan will be the site of a new Hard Rock hotel.

The hotel, which will be a part of the Reverb By Hard Rock brand, will involve the redevelopment of the 103-year-old structure in the 225 Parsons Street complex. The conversion is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023.

The 225 Parsons Street site is also the current home of Heritage Guitars’ factory, which will not be affected by the hotel’s development.

The Hard Rock Reverb Kalamazoo is developed in partnership with PlazaCorp Realty Advisors and Dora Hotel Company. Hard Rock describes the hotel as a business casual accommodation with “smart rooms”, an “intimate auditorium” and a “museum”. The hotel will also “offer programming highlighting local music, food and entertainment”.

Elements of the iconic site will remain intact. According to Hard Rock, the company will keep “a keen eye on maintaining the historic parts of the property”. For example, a “signing room”, where famous artists once inked contracts with Gibson, will be preserved.

“PlazaCorp has a long history of redeveloping historic places and creating reimagined spaces and this project does just that,” said Andy Wenzel, Executive VP of PlazaCorp Realty Advisors. “Our partnership with Hard Rock connects the deep music history of this site with their appreciation of exciting and creative spaces, historic music events and artefacts.”

He added: “This transformational project provides new jobs and investment in the neighbourhood and is made possible by our local, state and federal development partnerships contributing incentive support.”

The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company operated at 225 Parsons Street between 1917 and 1984 before relocating to its current facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Heritage Guitars has been renting part of the facility since its founding in 1985, and continues to produce instruments there.

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