Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

That headline is a quote from Steve Jobs, to a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2004. A year or so later, Apple released an iPod that played video on a 2.5 inch screen. It's often cited as classic Jobs misdirection.

Today's article in the Review Journal about MGM tearing down The Harmon is likely the same sort of statement.

Sure, the building clearly has structural problems - it had to be capped at half of it's height - but to my knowledge there's been no final or official declaration that the resulting structure is inherently unsound, just MGM's attempt to extract a larger settlement from their builder and their builder's insurance company.

MGM says "it is unlikely the Harmon will be completed using the building as it now stands." That leaves plenty of SEC wiggle-room for some 'repairs' to be made to the structure after the lawsuits are settled. Why would they have even finished the building if it couldn't be salvaged? They knew about the problems at least twelve months and millions of dollars before it was sealed.

Jeff Simpson thinks that Fontainebleau might get fontaine-blown-up. That I can imagine. The Harmon, not so much. Unless the building is condemned by the county, I bet on that thing opening someday - furnished with the money that MGM wins from Perini for (allegedly) royally screwing up the project.

Until then, it's the most expensive billboard on The Strip.


Read archived comments (6 so far)
November 13, 2010 9:47 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I totally agree. I just don't see that happening. I don't really see FB coming down either. Echelon could come down since there is so little there. But the other 2 make no sense.

November 13, 2010 10:20 PM Posted by Goon29

I seriously think they could make at least part of it into a badly needed marquee that could even be a design element of the property. The way the glass is tiled on that building they could do some cool stuff with LED and video and keep it from being a giant television with a logo. Could it be any worse than the giant bumper stickers they are putting up all over the property? Aria badly needs a means of communication to the traffic on the strip. I doubt the casual Vegas tourist even knows there's a casino back there. Although everyone loves to gripe about the trek through Crystals to get there, it's really not much (if any) farther from the street than Bellagio. I really think an appropriate marquee along with a means of ingress that doesn't require navigating the fortress of solitude could be of huge benefit to Aria.

November 13, 2010 10:43 PM Posted by Goon29

You're right, it won't happen. That would require Murren admitting that he was wrong. He'd rather to continue to tell people what they want when all indicators suggest otherwise. Remember how he insisted that locals would come to CityCenter just to walk around and enjoy the property? I'd love to see some numbers on how well that has worked out!

November 14, 2010 1:55 AM Posted by Duffman

Probably unlikely, but what are the chances of Boyd abondoning Echelon completely, then buying and finishing FB, adding in some design elements they wanted from Echelon, which would give them their strip property?

November 14, 2010 8:26 AM Posted by parchedearth

After reading Baldwin's comments, I'm starting to think the litigation/accounting/insurance issues will trump the more obvious factors and require the Harmon be torn down. MGM's first priority is to minimize their construction costs on the Harmon. This requires MGM to claim the building is currently worthless. If they later repair and use even a portion of the building, it may jeopardize whatever accounting writeoffs and/or insurance claims they end up taking. Hence, MGM may be forced to tear it down even though the most logical step may be to repair and make us of the existing building. In any event it appears the Harmon will lay dormant until the litigation is resolved in a couple years.

November 14, 2010 5:04 PM Posted by socalduck

I agree with parchedearth. Harmon's future has little to do with the physical attributes or usability of the building, and everything to do with insuring that MGMRI gets every dime possible out of a settlement and/or litigation.