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The Harmon Is Toast

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 12th November 2010 5:12am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 13


Harmon Is Toast

Here's a late entrant in to the CityCenter Art Collection sweepstakes... The Harmon Hotel Is Toast.

VT reader BCCableGuy just got back from Vegas yesterday and shared with us a short discussion he had with one of the construction workers laboring on the Cosmopolitan:

I met a gentleman with the union putting the finishing touches on the Cosmo. He was stationed on the new bridge from Planet Hollywood to the Cosmo preventing people from taking the stairs down to the unfinished casino. I got to talking to him as I stick out with all the camera gear and eventually I asked about the shorted building looming over us. He said that The Harmon had quietly been condemned. He said no one except engineers and inspectors are allowed inside. No security is inside at all because of safety concerns.

This discussion mirrors almost to the word one I had with a very reliable source inside the CityCenter gates, but with a cherry on top: The Harmon Hotel can't be knocked down because the demolition would have to be financed. Wouldn't it be a kicker if they planned to blow it up at the same time the Cosmopolitan opens? Dick move of the century, but all is fair in love and casino war.

I've got another theory... Harmon will stand there until the CityCenterLLC vs Perini lawsuit has been judged, appealed, reappealed, refiled, appealed again, overturned, refiled, kicked to a different court, arbitrated, refiled, appealed and judged. It is, of course, the biggest and bestest piece of evidence you'd ever want... destroying it destroys the court case!

Anybody want to place some bets on when this thing gets taken down?

Thanks BC!

Tagged: harmon   


Comments & Discussion:

There's been a lot of toast on VT lately. Just sayin'.

I simply can't see them bringing it down. The building is structurally sound and complete as it sits now. They will finish the lower floors for shops and offices; and simply seal off the upper floors. It will be perpetually wrapped in ads to act as a marquee for CC.

I know they had planned for a restaurant (Mr. Chow's) and shops on the first 2 floors, but does anyone recall whether they had planned for a theatre or convention space?

The problem is that if the building is condemned, that means that most likely all usable space can't be used effectively making the entire tower useless. I agree, it would make a marquee fine and dandy, but something tells me they'd rather tear the whole thing down and use the ground space for something more appealing.

Condemned means that a building is unsafe to occupy and must be repaired or torn down. Not suprising since it was never finished to get a certificate of occupancy. However, I believe it should be pretty easy/cheap to seal off the upper floors and bring the lower floors up to code. (I'm guessing it can be done by year's end for a couple million.) My theory is that MGM asked the county to condemn the building to support their lawsuit against the general contractor and is not an indication that it will be torn down.

If it is torn down, what would MGM replace it with? The walkway is designed for a second floor entrance. It won't be a park (no money in it), not shopping (compete with Crystals and more being built across the street), not restaurants (already too many in Crystals), not another high rise hotel/condo/offices (too expensive). Hence, I arrive at the conclusion that MGM takes the cheap and dirty way out by doing the bare minimum by using the existing structure to bring in whatever income it can get.

The problem is, anything they used the ground space for could never justify the immense cost of demolition and redevelopment. Even if it is in fact condemned by Clark County, it is still probably cheaper to bring it up to code (unless there is more going on than we have already heard of) than tear it down.

MGM choosing to implode it for business reasons is simply not going to happen in this day and age.

The good old implosion days in Vegas were unique and specific to that time period because during the boom, you could tear down the Hacienda to build Mandalay Bay, the Dunes to build Bellagio, the Sands for Venetian, the Aladdin for the new Aladdin, and the Desert Inn for Wynn.

Those days ended sharply with the demolition of Stardust for Echelon and the New Frontier for El Ad's Plaza.

All those demolitions only made financial sense because at the time the cost of the demolition was incidental compared to the value of the land itself, and the value of the land was high because of the assumed profit potential of what you could build at the location.

Just turning the Harmon site into a vacant lot now would cost far more than the land itself is worth. MGM would basically be paying above market value to gain a piece of vacant property on the strip, with low profit potential, that it doesn't want or need.

It's cheaper for them just to carry it on the books as a depreciating asset. If/when the market starts to improve and that land has profit potential again, they can repurpose the existing Harmon structure into whatever business they want to run there a lot faster and for a lot less money than demolishing and rebuilding from scratch would take.

Unless there is something seriously wrong with the construction that cannot be fixed, or the structure is affected by some external disaster in the future, I predict it will stand more or less as it is for 50+ years.

but,but,but, the website says opening soon.

I agree i don't think it will be torn down. It can be fixed. just not cheaply. Assuming the problem is not more extensive than what we have heard.

Parchedeath et al...I will bet my left nut the building is not structurally sound.

I said this a couple months ago on the message boards...this building will never open as anything.

I know the head engineer at Veer, he worked closely on the Harmon Project. He say's, and I quote..."There isn't an inspector in the Western Hemisphere that would put his name on that building."

After the flaws were found, they tried to repair it floor by floor. They did one floor at a cost of $15 million, realized the cost of fixing the entire building would be astronomical, then topped it off and shut the whole thing down.

Too bad. Light Group running a hotel would have either been awesome or a complete clusterf*ck, but it would have been fun to watch either way.

Well, the RJ is getting in on the fun now:
Apparently Bobby Baldwin doesn't think it can be salvaged, either. Though all of this could just be posturing. We'll find out someday, I suppose.

How about using the Harmon building as the new Aria/City Center marquee? It is gigantic, it is already there, and it would cost less than building a new one. Just put some neon and a giant screen and voila... City Center got its marquee...
Oh, and if the building collapses nobody would notice. The whole complex looks like a bunch of collapsed buildings already...

I agree with Leo, wasn't CC about to spend 20 mil for a marquee ? Well, now you have a billion dollar marquee, unless you can find someone to buy it......anybody at MGM got Carl Icahn's cell number?

Vegas TaT update 11/14/10 stating Harmon slated for demo "sometime in the next 2 years"

@westtexas and his source on this is the story above. hamsters! Sure is funny how the LVRJ and Sun picked this up and ran nowhere with it.

MGM isn't talking, officially.

This was all over the news when I was there (back as of today). The building is going to have to come down but how the hell can they do it? Cosmo will be open and you know they arent going to want an empty shell next to their shiny new toy or a construction crew taking Harmon down glass pane by glass pane.

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