Brand New, Upscale Hotel Tower in Las Vegas May Get Bulldozed

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It seemingly had everything going for it: One of the most famous names in architecture—Lord Norman Foster—and a prominent location that anchors the corner of CityCenter in Las Vegas. But before MGM Resorts International even opened its 28-story Harmon Hotel, it has shut the site down with plans to bulldoze the tower.

The Foster + Partners-designed Harmon Hotel, an oval-shaped tower and the focal point of an $8.5 billion development along the Las Vegas Strip, has been anything but a sure bet—or lucky break—for the casino giant.

Due to “serious structural defects” and “public safety concerns,” according to Architectural Record, the company wants to bulldoze the structure and wash its hands of the entire process. But right now nothing can happen, while MGM and general contractor Perini Building Company duke it out in the courts.

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Construction issues have plagued the once-hoped-for icon all along, especially in 2009 when more than 200 high-end condominiums got the axe from the design over construction concerns.

A month ago, the building was deemed beyond repair due to the structural defects stemming from improperly installed steel links on 15 floors. MGM says repairing the glass-encased structure could take years, if even possible at all. Tearing it down takes much less time.

Of course, that is all if you listen only to MGM. Perini says the building is relatively safe even now and doesn’t actually have massive problems. The issues that remain are easily fixable and Perini says it can present plans to do so within three months. A Perini statement claims MGM had “buyer’s remorse” and wants to implode the building and have the contractor pay for their poor business decision made in a real estate downturn.

With MGM already owing the house $279 million on Harmon and a no-touch order on the site as litigation continues, don’t expect a quick payout anytime soon. So, for at least the next few months, enjoy the Lord Foster design. Safe or not, it still looks pretty.

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Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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