Giant checkerboard guitar, solar panels and more coming to Hard Rock Casino Rockford

ROCKFORD — As more than 100 guests, dignitaries and government officials celebrated this week beneath a giant, carpeted tent on the site where a casino will sprout, Hard Rock International Chief Operating Officer Jon Lucas half joked about not knowing how long it will take to build.

With headwinds that include the weather as fall and winter approach in addition to inflation and supply chain complications, it is too soon to tell if the 180,000-square-foot casino and resort will be done by winter 2023 as Hard Rock officials had previously hoped.

"There are still a lot of moving parts. The site is defined, but the components within the building are still moving around a little bit and being finalized," said Geno Iafrate, president of Hard Rock Casino Rockford.

Here are some other construction details confirmed at Wednesday's event:

More:Answers to the most commonly asked Hard Rock Casino Rockford questions

Stage one work only

Illinois Gaming Board has approved stage one work to commence on the site which consists of earthwork, utilities and installing the foundation. Any further construction must first be approved by regulatory officials.

Make ours checkerboard, please

Rockford legend and Rock 'N Roll Hall of Famer Rick Nielsen's signature checkerboard guitar, a giant sign version, will mark the entrance to the casino while some of the real guitars from his personal collection will be on display inside.

Here comes the sun

A significant amount — perhaps 30% and maybe a lot more — of the resort's power could come from solar panels installed on the roof of the Hard Rock Live venue. The building will be designed to be as energy efficient as possible.

Storm water plan involves nearby park

Most of the storm water from the site will drain underneath Lyford Road and into ponds on Rockford Park District property nearby.

A Rockford Register Star reporter since 2005, Jeff Kolkey writes about city government, politics, trends in the Rockford region and more. He is a Rockford resident, a married father of two and a White Sox fan. He can be reached at (815) 987-1374, via email at and on Twitter @jeffkolkey.

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Hard Rock Casino Rockford plans to create its own power