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Engineer: Las Vegas Tower in Danger of Collapse | News

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Engineer: Las Vegas Tower in Danger of Collapse

LAS VEGAS  -- The unfinished Harmon hotel tower at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip would likely collapse in a strong earthquake, a structural engineer told casino operator MGM Resorts International on Monday.

The report sent to the casino company by Weidlinger Associates of Marina del Rey, Calif., says it would take at least one year to figure out what kind of repairs would be required to save the tower.

"In a code-level earthquake, using either the permitted or current code specified loads, it is likely that critical structural members in the tower will fail and become incapable of supporting gravity loads, leading to a partial or complete collapse of the tower," said Chukwuma G. Ekwueme, an associated principal of Weidlinger.

MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Absher said the company is waiting to hear from Clark County to figure out what to do next. Absher said the company hired the consultants to analyze the building to respond to a request from county building officials to inspect the building further.

The Harmon is part of the $8.5 billion CityCenter project that opened at the end of 2009. It is jointly owned by MGM Resorts and Dubai World.

MGM Resorts has been at legal odds with builder Tutor Perini Corp. over the project since last year. Absher said the county building request is separate from the litigation.

Ronald Lynn, director of the building division in the county's development services division, said in an April letter to MGM Resorts that it was important to analyze the building's strength further to minimize risks to safety on the Las Vegas Strip and in adjacent buildings.

"These deficiencies, in their current state, make the building uninhabitable," Lynn wrote. The Harmon, originally envisioned as a boutique hotel with condominium units, sits next to the Crystals shopping center on Las Vegas Boulevard, across Harmon Avenue from the  Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino-resort.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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