Two tower implosions in separate months proposed to take down Riviera

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and its contracted demolitions experts will double down on imploding the shuttered Riviera property, promising to bring down two towers in separate months.

The committee focused on reviewing the details of the proposed expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday recommended awarding a contract to Las Vegas-based W.A. Richardson Builders LLC for $42 million.

Under the Richardson plan, the Monte Carlo and Monaco towers of the Riviera would be imploded in June and August after several of the other low-rise buildings are demolished with wrecking balls and bulldozers ahead of them.

No firm dates have been announced for the implosion events.

The authority’s marketing team is already scheming on how it will promote the two events, literally seeking the most bang for its bucks.

Authority executives view promoting the events as a means to generate publicity for future plans to expand and upgrade the Convention Center.

The demolition project will include bringing down the buildings, abating hazardous asbestos and mold at the site, removing the debris and preparing the lot for outdoor exhibits and parking.

The Riviera grounds are adjacent to the Convention Center’s Gold Lot and will give the authority an extra 3,100 parking spaces that could either be used for additional vehicle parking or for outdoor exhibits.

Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of operations for the authority, said the management team considered keeping the Riviera’s existing parking garage structures intact, but determined that they would be more of a detriment than an asset because of where they’re placed. They, too, will be among the structures that will be demolished.

The committee also recommended amending a professional services agreement by adding $1 million to the contract approved with Terracon Consultants. The contract amendment was expected as the company was asked to investigate the presence of hazardous materials prior to determining how much it would cost to remove it.

The recommendation from the six-member committee is expected to be brought to the authority’s monthly board meeting April 12 and if approved there, work on the Riviera could begin by April 15.

The cost of bringing the Riviera down climbed by $5 million because builder representative Cordell Corp. and demolition consultant Terracon determined that there is asbestos within the stucco finish of the Monte Carlo tower. As a result, Richardson workers will have to wrap the building in plastic and chisel away the finish and haul it away to prevent asbestos particles from becoming airborne.

There also is asbestos in the buildings’ interiors that will have to be removed before the implosions can occur.

Imploding aging casino properties has become a cultural phenomenon for Las Vegas since the Dunes property was brought down in 1993 to make way for construction of the Bellagio.

Other properties that have been imploded include the Sands, Aladdin, Landmark, Castaways, Frontier, Stardust and Boardwalk.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.

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