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Unopened Vegas Hotel to be Dismantled

Monday, May 12, 2014

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Floor by floor, an unfinished multimillion-dollar hotel riddled with structural defects will come down this year without checking in a single guest, a Nevada judge has ruled.

This summer, crews will begin demolishing the Harmon Hotel in MGM Resort International’s $8.5 billion CityCenter in Las Vegas, amid a continuing legal battle over who is to blame for the hotel's thousands of defects, according to reports.

Harmon Hotel
Cygnusloop99 / Wikimedia Commons

A judge has ordered the demolition of the Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas while legal feuding over its numerous structural defects continues.

The lawsuit pits general contractor Tutor Perini Company against CityCenter co-owners MGM and Dubai World.

Hotel Saga

Originally scheduled to open in 2009, the Harmon made it only to 26 of its 48 planned stories when 2008 inspections revealed flaws in steel reinforcements in concrete walls, columns and beams, according to reports.

The hotel project was halted, its scope reconsidered, and the legal feud between the builder and owner ensued.

For years, the striking blue-glass building, designed by Foster + Partners Architects, has stood vacant as a giant billboard, while the Aria, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental towers have gone on to welcome guests in the 67-acre CityCenter complex.

CityCenter experts have called the Harmon a “monument of construction defects” and have said the structure could collapse in a strong earthquake, reports note. They said more than 7,000 structural defects had been observed.

Harmon Hotel
Kris Ziel / Wikimedia Commons

Intended to open in 2009, the Harmon made it only to 26 stories (out of 48 planned) when 2008 inspections revealed flaws in steel reinforcements in concrete walls, columns and beams, according to reports.

The contractor claims the building’s problems stem from design flaws; MGM contends that the contractor is to blame for the structural deficiencies, according to reports citing court documents.

Tutor Perini is seeking more than $300 million in unpaid construction bills; MGM's countersuit seeks nearly $400 million, reports relate.

Demolition to Begin

MGM first requested the court’s permission to raze the structure in March 2012. Permission was granted in July 2012, but the dismantling was delayed so that the tower could be used as evidence in the upcoming trial, which is now scheduled to begin in September 2014.

On April 22, Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered the attorneys to wrap up evidence collection and testing so that the demolition process could begin this summer, reports said.

The demolition will cost about $11.5 million and may take up to a year to complete, according to reports.

No Implosion

Unlike other demolished Las Vegas hotels, such as the Sands, Aladdin, Stardust, Desert Inn and the Castaways, the Harmon will not come down in a big boom.

Instead, the Harmon will be taken down floor by floor because it is conjoined with other structures, Thom Doud, a project manager for Controlled Demolition Inc., a company that has handled a number of other Las Vegas implosions, told the Los Angeles Times.

“All structures are like people,” Doud told the news bureau. “They all have their own personalities. You have to deal with each accordingly.”

Reports have not indicated what will take Harmon’s place on the Strip.

   

Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Construction; Design; Health and safety; Hotels

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