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Clark County Gives MGM Deadline on Harmon Tower | News

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Clark County Gives MGM Deadline on Harmon Tower
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LAS VEGAS -- A new report released by Clark County claims CityCenter's Harmon tower is in danger of collapse during an earthquake. The Perini construction company is fighting back, calling the report incomplete.

In a statement released to 8 News NOW, Perini officials write, "MGM does not want the Harmon to be repaired because the Harmon is worth more dead than alive to MGM.  Otherwise, MGM would allow Perini to repair it."

Late Tuesday afternoon, Clark County issued a letter stating MGM Resorts International must submit a "plan of action that will abate the potential for structural collapse and protect" neighboring buildings. They must also provide documents substantiating the report's conclusion on Harmon tower by 5 p.m. August 15, 2011.

With billions of dollars at stake in a major lawsuit between MGM Resorts International and Perini Building Company, the Harmon tower could remain one of Las Vegas' most expensive unoccupied buildings.

The $279 million Harmon was meant to be 46 stories but was halted at 27 stories after alleged construction defects were discovered.

"I don't want to stare at it everyday and I don't want to worry about if there's an earthquake or if something should happen that myself and other residents and tourists and pedestrians could be injured," said Heather Chadwell, Veer tower resident.

The report was done by Weidlinger Associates in California for MGM. UNLV construction management professor Neil Opfer, who is not associated with the report, has studied the alleged construction defects at Harmon tower.

In a statement to 8 News NOW, MGM officials say that Perini is attempting to deflect attention for failing to properly construct the Harmon.

"The people that were installing the reinforcing steel didn't understand why the designer had, for example, those link beams where they had two rows of four reinforcing steel bars for eight bars total. What they did is they took out the middle bars and they put them up on the sides of the beams," said Opfer.

When the CityCenter project began, Clark County gave MGM Resorts International a list of high-rise inspectors. One of those companies was Converse Consulting. MGM says their engineer, Halcrow Yolles, discovered dangerous building flaws. Construction halted in 2009 and accusations flew that Perini construction and Converse Consulting were negligent. Perini blames MGM's engineers for a bad design but adds that Harmon tower is stable and all defects can be repaired.

Chadwell keeps staring at Harmon from her home at Veer towers. "Take it down piece by piece slowly and safely and let us enjoy our view," said Chadwell. 

Clark County, MGM, and Perini all declined to go on camera for this story. A lawsuit to resolve this issue has been delayed for several months. If the final decision is that Harmon tower cannot be repaired, UNLV's structural engineer says that imploding the tower may prove to be too difficult with how close it is to the rest of CityCenter.

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