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Foster's CityCenter Tower Pared Down

February 19, 2009

By Tony Illia
A version of this story appeared in Engineering News-Record.

Construction flaws have prompted a developer to downsize a tower designed by Foster + Partners for the CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip
Construction flaws have prompted a developer to downsize a tower designed by Foster + Partners for the CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip
Images courtesy MGM Mirage

Construction flaws have prompted a developer to downsize a tower designed by Foster + Partners for the CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip.

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Construction flaws have prompted a developer to downsize a tower designed by Foster + Partners for the CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip.

After inspectors discovered that rebar was installed incorrectly, MGM Mirage announced on January 7 that it was cutting the height of Foster’s Harmon Hotel & Spa in half. The oval-shaped, cast-in-place concrete tower, sheathed in checkerboard yellow and blue glass, will now be 28 stories tall instead of 49 as originally planned. It will still contain 400 hotel rooms, but the developer has eliminated the tower’s 200 high-end residences, of which only 44 percent had been sold.

“By canceling the Harmon condominium component, we will be able to avoid the need for substantial redesign of the Harmon resulting from contractor construction errors," said CityCenter President and CEO Robert Baldwin in a statement. The size reduction is expected save $600-million, plus another $200-million in deferred costs for completing interiors, according to the company.

Construction of the tower began in 2006; 15 stories had been built when the defect was discovered. Craig Shaw, president of Perini Building Company, the project's lead contractor, said the faulty work might have been “a solution to a design conflict.”  

The hotel is now slated to open in late 2010 instead of this December, when the rest of CityCenter is scheduled to be completed. The 76-acre, 18-million-square-foot development is the largest privately financed project in U.S. history. Other firms involved in the mega-project include Helmut Jahn, Rafael Viñoly Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Rockwell Group, and Gensler.

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