Friday, September 16, 2011

A White Elephant in Las Vegas is Blue: Harmon Hotel

(photo: Ali-PG/flickr)
It may appear like a glistening blue jewel on the strip, but the Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas is a dud of an empty shell. Last month press reports indicated that MGM Resorts International is recommending the tower, part of the massive City Center complex, be demolished because of construction defects.

On that notion this "white elephant" on the trip is becoming a favorite for photographs by visitors while the building is still standing. It's unlikely it will demolished anytime soon while litigation is ongoing between MGM and the building's general contractor, Perini Building Co.

If and when the Harmon Hotel is demolished it will be before the hotel ever welcomes even one guest. Initially it was to be a 49-story mixed-use complex with 200 condo on top of 400 hotel rooms. But structural defects were discovered in the building and this high-end luxury building was cut down to 29 stories. Construction ended in December 2009 with only the core and shell completed. In the dispute with MGM, the Perini company is debating that the construction defects can be repaired. Structural engineers reported to MGM that the tower would likely collapse in a strong earthquake.

In the meantime the $279 building is being used as an expensive billboard. The Harmon sits along prime real estate along the strip across from Planet Hollywood and next to The Cosmopolitan. It's been a while since the last building implosion in Las Vegas which was the New Frontier Hotel in November 2007.

(photo: roig61/flickr)


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