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Look back: The Strip building that never opened — PHOTOS

Updated April 3, 2024 - 6:47 am

It was supposed to have 47 floors and serve as a welcome sign to the Strip’s CityCenter on the corner of Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.

But instead, the hotel was torn down floor by floor before ever welcoming a single guest.

The Harmon Hotel project was, for years, a skeleton on the Las Vegas Strip. It was the only part of the $8.5 billion CityCenter development — which includes the Aria, Vdara, Veer Towers, The Shops at Crystals and Waldorf Astoria (formerly Mandarin Oriental) — that never opened.

Former CityCenter CEO Bobby Baldwin called it “One of the most beautifully designed buildings ever,” in 2010, with architect Lord Norman Foster as its designer. Foster is famous for his steel and glass buildings, designing Apple Park, the headquarters of Apple, Inc., and the Hearst Tower in New York City.

The CityCenter development broke ground in 2006, but problems started popping up for The Harmon in August 2008 when Clark County filed a violation notice claiming that structural work on the building didn’t match its submitted plans. The county initially agreed that workers could correct the issues on 15 of the then-22 existing floors, which included fixing rebar that was spaced differently than originally planned and not cleared with building inspectors.

By early 2009, the hotel’s cut its number of planned floors to 26, its condominium portion was scrapped and its opening pushed back to 2010, the Review-Journal reported in January that year.

A Review-Journal analysis in April 2009 revealed that 69 percent of the Harmon Hotel’s discrepancies reported by county officials were, at that time, unresolved with the opening of the first CityCenter tower just months away.

In November 2010, MGM Resorts decided that the building would be demolished, but not until those involved in the project could figure out who to blame for its failures.

In August 2013, a District Court judge granted CityCenter permission to demolish the building, even with a construction defect lawsuit pending. A structural engineer hired by MGM wrote that the building could collapse in a 7.7-magnitude earthquake.

But, the demolition approval was withdrawn in November that year due to insurance issues, the Review-Journal reported at the time.

Ultimately, MGM Resorts and Tutor Perini Corp, the building’s general contractor, pointed fingers at each other until the two and CityCenter settled out of court before a trial was set to start in 2014. The take down of the tower started the same year.

Today, the site of the never-finished Harmon is home to 63, a four-story retail complex developed by Brett Torino who bought the site in 2021 for $80 million.

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