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October 23, 2019

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Judge approves demolition of flawed CityCenter hotel tower

Strip Properties 2013

Christopher DeVargas

An exterior view of the Harmon Tower, June 6, 2013.

Updated Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 | 5:30 p.m.

The Harmon - Oct. 2011

The Harmon at CityCenter in Las Vegas on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. Launch slideshow »

A judge has granted permission for owners of the CityCenter development to demolish a flawed, half-built hotel tower on the Las Vegas Strip after developers completed a fourth round of testing on the building.

Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez approved CityCenter's motion Friday, clearing the way for owners MGM Resorts International and Dubai World to raze the Harmon Hotel tower. CityCenter officials said they would immediately start planning for the demolition, which could happen within a year.

The Harmon was supposed to be a 48-story component of the glittery $8.5 billion CityCenter project that opened in December 2009. But inspectors found flaws in the steel reinforcements used in the concrete structure, and tower construction was frozen at 26 stories.

CityCenter's consultants have said that the building could collapse in a strong earthquake — one that has a 50 percent chance of happening in the next 30 years.

Developers are now embroiled in a lawsuit with builder Tutor Perini Building Co. over who's responsible for some $400 million in damages. A trial on that case is set to begin in February.

Lawyers with Tutor Perini, who previously argued that the building should stay up to preserve evidence for the trial, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

It's not the first time a demolition has been approved by a judge. Permission was granted last year but later revoked when the judge questioned the methodology of structural testing on the tower.

With Friday's approval, Gonzalez has accepted the latest round of tests as admissible at trial.

The empty Harmon Hotel building stands at the entrance of the 67-acre master-planned CityCenter development, which features several hotels, condominiums, a casino and an upscale shopping and restaurant complex.

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