Casino company MGM Resorts International is seeking county approval to demolish the defective Harmon hotel tower on the Las Vegas Strip, concluding it's not worth the time, money or effort to salvage the building and open.
Responding to calls from county officials in Sin City to come up with a plan, the Las Vegas company said Monday it now wants to implode the stylish blue oval cylinder because structural defects prevent it from being used. A structural engineer said in a report last month that the building wouldn't hold up in a strong earthquake.
Plans submitted to the county call for the building to be imploded in six months, with four months of cleanup afterward including clearing dust from the Las Vegas Strip, an intersecting street and at least two Las Vegas casinos, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas next door and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino across the street.
The alternative, MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Absher said, would be to conduct even more tests for 18 months to come up with a proper design to fix the tower, then another two to three years to rebuild the hotel.
"We have been assured by demolition experts that a properly executed implosion will not pose health or safety problems for residents, visitors and adjacent businesses," Absher said.
The Harmon is part of CityCenter, an $8.5 billion joint venture development with Dubai World that opened in December 2009. The Harmon, originally planned as a boutique hotel with condominiums run by a nightlife company, faced problems throughout its construction and was topped off at half its intended height because of problems with the spacing reinforcing steel.
MGM Resorts and main contractor Tutor Perini Corp. are in litigation over the construction bills, with Perini arguing the design was incomplete, while its building work was fine. Perini officials say MGM Resorts' structural report from an independent engineer was a tactic aimed to bolster its legal battle.
The county requested a plan from MGM Resorts last month after the engineer found that the building was not only unusable, but a public safety hazard.
A county spokesman acknowledged that MGM Resorts' plan was received and said county officials were reviewing it, but declined further comment.
The back and forth between MGM Resorts and Clark County building officials is separate from the litigation between the company and Perini, but a judge's order for MGM Resorts to hold off on any plans for the building would have to be lifted for the implosion to take place.
Associated Press writer Cristina Silva contributed to this report.
Oskar Garcia can be reached at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia.