ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Hard Rock Casino Rockford is reaching new heights as the final beam was placed on the structure today.

“As a Rockfordian, I’ve dreamed of a casino in Rockford for nearly 30 years,” said Brent Johnson, the chairman and CEO of Ringland-Johnson Construction.

In just over one year, the casino is expected to open.

“It’s almost 200,000 square feet inside. It will have numerous restaurants. It has a concert venue called ‘Live’. Can you picture 2,000 people standing there for hard rock acts that travel the nation on tour?” Johnson asked. “Coming to Rockford, there’ll be restaurants, games. It’s going to be Disneyland for adults.”

Most final beam ceremonies include the addition of the “topping tree,” an ancient construction tradition that goes along with other rituals such as the laying of foundation stones and ribbon cuttings.

But in true Hard Rock fashion, the construction crew opted to use a guitar instead to mark the highest point of the structure.

While there is still much work to be done, Geno Iafrate, president of Hard Rock Rockford, says he is excited for what comes next.

“We’re committed to going outside the four walls of the facility to make all the communities in which we do business a better place for everybody to live,” Iafrate said. “I think with the Opening Act [temporary casino], we’ve delivered that to Rockford and to the region. And think about the big joint, how much more we’re going to be able to do for the community. I think that’s what I’m most excited about.”

Iafrate hopes the casino will leave a long-lasting impact on Rockford for generations to come.

“Twelve months ago, we broke ground on this facility. Two years ago, we tore down the Clock Tower. And in the next 12 months, we’re going to finish the inside of the casino so that the Hard Rock people and the Illinois gaming people can get the games, slot machines, tables all up and running,” said Johnson.

The Hard Rock Casino is expected to open by Labor Day 2024.