The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 12:16cat

Harmon Tower to be Demolished Floor by Floor

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The Harmon will be demolished floor by floor once the building's legal battles are over The Harmon will be demolished floor by floor once the building's legal battles are over Vrysxy

The Harmon Hotel and Condominium Tower was supposed to be the centerpiece of MGM Resorts International’s $8.5 billion CityCenter development. Instead, the building stands unfinished on the Las Vegas, Nevada strip wrapped in a $1 million tarp designed to make the building look functional. All construction work on the inside of the building has been halted since 2008 as legal battles have been fought between the building’s design engineers, contractors, and owner. The Harmon’s $30 million floor-by-floor demolition received approval from a Clark County court in August 2013.

The Harmon originally was designed to have 49 floors with 400 hotel rooms and 207 condominium units. The hotel was intended to be a non-gaming luxury hotel that was part of the larger CityCenter development. CityCenter included other commercial, hotel-casino, and residential properties in Las Vegas. Construction on the Harmon was halted after 26 stories in 2008 after inspectors discovered faulty steel rebar in the first 15 floor’s columns. At the time, the hotel’s design was changed to stop at 28 floors, and the condominium units were removed from the plans. The condominium buyers were given the option of a full refund or the opportunity to buy a unit in another MGM property.

A 2011 report published by California-based engineering consultancy Weidlinger Associates found the Harmon Hotel beyond repair even though an earlier government report found the building repairable. According to the report, the structure is at great risk of collapse if a strong earthquake occurs. CityCenter officials predict that there is a 50% chance of an earthquake of high enough magnitude to collapse the building occurring within 30 years. Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez has ordered that after opposing lawyers collect what evidence they can, the Harmon will be demolished.

The Harmon’s issues are not the only safety problems that affected the Las Vegas strip since 2008. The Las Vegas Sun reported serious safety flaws at other CityCenter and Las Vegas construction sites in 2009. Twelve workers were killed in an 18-month stretch on job sites, and half of the fatalities occurred at CityCenter projects. The construction boom led Las Vegas to having the nation’s highest rate of construction deaths in 2009.

Sources: LA TimesInhabitat

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