Foster + Partners’ half-finished ‘Harmon Hotel’ on the Las Vegas strip looks set for demolition amid claims of construction defects
The unfinished blue building (pictured), which was supposed to be the showcase hotel of MGM Resorts International’s 27-hectare CityCenter development, has already been downscaled but now looks likely to be pulled down.
Owner MGM is in dispute with its general contractor Perini Building over the quality of construction at the hotel. It claims Harmon has ‘substantial defective construction’ resulting in ‘hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated damages’.
But Perini president and chief executive Craig Shaw said the problems can be fixed and claimed the lawsuit is a ‘smokescreen to avoid paying the final construction bill’.
MGM had to absorb a $279-million (£168 million) write-down on the building in the third quarter as costs mount. It had already cut back plans for the size of the hotel - reducing the number of floors from 47 to 27 in January 2009 as part of a money saving measure. That saved $600 million (£373 million) in construction costs and another $200 million (£124 million) that would have been earmarked for the interior.
Architecture critic Alan Hess said: ‘It’s clearly stumpy, and that’s not good on the most prominent site in the complex.’
The author of Viva Las Vegas: After Hours Architecture added: ‘Without a tenant, it also creates a black hole along the strip side walk, with no activity, shops, entries at that point on the link between the Bellagio and CityCentre.’
Meanwhile, speaking to the Las Vegas-Review journal CityCenter chief executive officer Bobby Baldwin said: ‘Right now, I have a building I can’t do anything with…. [a] poster child for nonconforming work worldwide.’
[The building is the] poster child for non-conforming work worldwide
Foster’s oval blue-glass building had been given prominent placement in the development along the strip and would have marked his first project in Las Vegas.
But the building is no longer listed on the architect’s website and, according to reports, is said to be unhappy with how the project has ended.
David Baird, architecture school director at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said: ‘I think that like any good master plan, when you remove a piece, you are in danger of setting off an imbalance that has repercussions. It reduces the density of the development, which is one of the goals of CityCentre.’