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Defects Endanger Harmon's Earthquake Readiness, Report Finds | News

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Defects Endanger Harmon's Earthquake Readiness, Report Finds

LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas sits on one of the country's most active fault lines. Now, a new report says if an earthquake strikes, the Harmon Hotel at CityCenter could come crashing down.

The planned 46-story building never made it past 27 levels, and the Harmon never opened. MGM Resorts International blames construction defects for the sudden stop in progress.

A report released this week reveals more flaws with the building.

"It seems like somewhere there was a problem, and something didn't get implemented properly," said UNLV Civil Engineering Associate Professor Aly Said. "Accordingly, you ended up with a structure that has some issues in it."

An inspection ordered by Clark County found the tower could completely collapse in the event of an earthquake.

Said says it would take at least a magnitude six earthquake for the Harmon to come crashing down.

"In recent history, we haven't seen any significant activity," he said. "That doesn't mean it's not going to happen. We're playing basically a game of probability on that."

It's a game CityCenter residents would rather not play.

"If an earthquake would hit, there are pedestrians right below. The street's right below, so many people could be injured. Not to mention, I walk my dog there every day," said Veer Tower resident Heather Chadwell.

As a result of the inspection, the county imposed an August 15th deadline for MGM to decide what to do with the property. The deadline may force developers to write the final chapter in CityCenter's construction saga.

"When you talk about options, it's always a question of economics - whether it's easier to implode it can get taken into account, the adjacent structure or demolish it piece by piece," Said said. "Everything is fixable. It's just how much it's going to cost."

The construction defects are the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute between MGM Resorts and its construction partner, Perini Building Company. A lawsuit is currently pending.


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