Los Angeles Business Journal

Tutor Perini Goes to Court to Preserve Las Vegas Hotel

By Business Journal Staff Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Attorneys representing Tutor Perini Corp. were in Nevada Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing that an unopened Las Vegas hotel that the Sylmar construction firm built for MGM Resorts International should remain standing.

MGM has accused Tutor of shoddy construction, saying that the company failed to meet structural standards. It has asked it be allowed to demolish the 26-story Harmon Hotel, which was designed to be the centerpiece of its $8.5 billion CityCenter complex.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez initially approved the demolition, but withdrew that approval in December and called for additional testing on the structure. At issue is whether existing reports contain enough information to determine the building is unsafe.

The $500 million civil lawsuit doesn’t go to trial until January, and the general contracting firm says demolition will leave an unfair impression on jurors that the build was done poorly as well as destroy material evidence.

The building was to be the primary design point for the sprawling 67-acre complex, which opened in 2009. But building inspectors found structural flaws in lower floors of the building, and its 48-story design was cut in half in the middle of construction.

MGM has pointed to a 2011 report that says the building could collapse in an earthquake as motivation for the demolition. Tutor insists that the building is structurally sound as built.

Tutor shares closed down 47 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $17.98 on the New York Stock Exchange.