Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez concluded four days of often technical testimony and ruled that City Center Holdings, developed and co-owned by MGM Resorts International and Dubai World, could proceed with plans to demolish the building in question. She said the demolition was a business decision permitted under state law.
With the court’s ruling, Gonzalez testified for hours about who should be held accountable for Harmon’s numerous flaws, whether repairs are possible, and whether the building is dangerous to public safety.
If the construction defect case goes to trial by a jury scheduled for the end of June, all these factors will almost certainly resurface. The city center spent $275 million on Harmon before construction was halted four years ago, and the bombing of the 26-story tower is estimated at $30 million.
Thursday’s results do not mean the city center can begin wiring explosives. In the case, a technician hired by a subcontractor will be able to apply for permission to conduct about a week’s worth of experiments on the structure for two weeks.
More importantly, the Perini Building, a general contractor and the main target of the city center’s lawsuit, is almost certain to appeal to Nevada’s Supreme Court. Gonzalez rejected a request from Perini’s attorney, George Ogilvy III, to keep the ruling while he tried to overturn it, but she said she could ask again next week after several related issues have been decided.
If the city center becomes popular, it will certainly need approval from the Clark County Department of Architecture for what is certain to be a difficult demolition. While the bombing of an unwanted hotel tower has become an iconic Las Vegas event over the years, it has rarely been attempted in such a difficult time. Harmon is located at a corner south of West Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, between a pedestrian bridge across Harmon and Crystal’s retail stores.
All of these factors raise the possibility that Harmon will still be standing at the start of the trial.
Craig Shaw, CEO of Tutor Perini Building, declined comment after the ruling. Tutor Perini is Perini’s successor. 파워볼게임
The City Center said in a statement that “elimination is the surest, safest and fastest way” to address safety risks cited by Clark County officials.
A key element of Gonzalez’s decision was “overwhelming evidence” that every company in the case had every opportunity to gather evidence for trial.
Ogilvie could not argue that something as widely known as the inner circle of a 26-story building in the center of the strip would permanently cement people’s opinions of Harmon.
“[A] jury will immediately assume that Harmon was taken down because of safety concerns,” said Ogilvie.
In addition, he added, “Allowing MGM to demolish the building is allowing MGM to bury its mistakes.”
While Perini points out many of the building’s flaws in the design commissioned by MGM, MGM has built up what it considers to be poor construction work into a catalog.
City center engineers claimed that Harmon could not be repaired and would collapse if a serious earthquake occurred. Perini’s team concluded that it would survive severe damage.
Perini has a $300 million lien to Harmon for unpaid payments related to the $8.5 billion City Center Hotel-Casino complex, but it must be reduced to less than $240 million when the payment is completed next week.
Next week there will be more Harmon hearings on issues that could affect the jury’s calculation of damages.
Originally planned as a 49-story non-game hotel and condominium tower, Harmon was cut back and later abandoned after inspectors found a flaw in placing reinforcement on concrete walls. Today, the empty building is nothing more than a giant billboard surrounded by advertisements. Most of the 67-acre city center complex, which includes the Aria, Beer, Vdara and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tower, as well as casino and crystal shopping and restaurant complexes, opened in 2009.