Foster’s Unopened Vegas Tower Being Dismantled After Lengthy Court Battle

West
Friday, May 9, 2014
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(Greg Phelps)

Norman Foster’s doomed Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas. (Greg Phelps / Flickr)

In Las Vegas, you win some and you lose some. Lining up as what must be one of the biggest busts in Sin City history, the exceptionally-botched, Foster + Partners–designed Harmon Hotel, now has a date with the wrecking ball. The stubby 27-story tower—it was originally supposed to measure 49 stories but construction problems  stunted its growth—never opened and no one ever checked in at what would surely have been a posh front desk.

(DONALD PRIOLA / FLICKR)

(DONALD PRIOLA / FLICKR)

Rendering showing the Harmon Hotel at its originally-intended height. (Courtesy City Center)

Rendering showing the Harmon Hotel at its originally-intended height. (Courtesy City Center)

As AN reported in 2011, the Harmon Hotel was in the midst of a bitter lawsuit to allow demolition to proceed as some were claiming the structural deficiencies were enough to make even the shortened tower structurally unsound and at risk of collapse:

After discovering deficient steel reinforcing in early 2009, MGM left the foreshortened tower an unfinished shell but is now moving to implode the structure citing safety concerns. Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs at MGM, said the company had submitted an engineering recommendation and demolition action plan to Clark County, Nevada detailing the structural shortcomings of the Harmon. “The city asked us to respond to the engineer’s report to determine the best way forward,” said Feldman. “We decided the best move is to take the building down.”

The Harmon Hotel is part of MGM’s $9 billion mega-development, CityCenter, which features buildings by Daniel Libeskind, Rafael Vinoly, Helmut Jahn, and others. The Harmon Hotel sits adjacent to Libeskind’s ultra-luxury shopping center, the Crystals, which AN profiles in a past retail feature.

Now, MGM has resolved that lawsuit and on April 22 received court approval to proceed with demolition of the tower. According to a report in Architectural Record, there won’t be a dramatic, Las Vegas–style implosion. Instead, the  hotel will be taken apart, piece by piece, over the next year.

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