Bringing down the house: new timeline for Hard Rock demolition

Shoring and recovery: February. Dismantling of tower: Summer.

Thomas Perumean
December 13, 2019 - 11:16 am

It took years to get approved, months to buildm and moments to throw New Orleans into chaos.  The collapsed Hard Rock Hotel structure will remain an eyesore on the city's skyline at least until Summer 2020.  

Fire Superintendent Timothy McConnell says Thursday the first job is shore up the collapsed portion of the hotel tower to allow for the recovery of the two workers entombed in the structure.

"If you're careful and safe and concerned about the people around you and the buildings around you, things take time," says Consulting Structural Engineer H.J. Bosworth.  He's pleased the City has adopted a more balanced plan for tearing down the building.   

"I'm not surprised that the focus now is taking down the tower of the Hard Rock, piece-by-piece, nice and safe," Bosworth says.  "And getting to the street so they can recover the evidence necessary for the lawsuits."

Bosworth believes the lower portion of the building might be saved.  "The first nine floors are nice and strong.  Any time you can drop a portion of a hotel tower on to another part of a building and not have that building collapse, too... ...you've got something there that's substantial."

Bosworth says the shoring work to stabilize the tower will be set up on the top of the retail and parking structure.  

Dismantling the tower will likely take place by building a pair of construction towers up through the structures three elevator shafts, which continue to protrute from the collapsed building.  

Much like the previous yellow towers, these will be able to effectively work in reverse, dismantling the steel structure and beams around them and lowering them to the street.  

Again, Bosworth says the podium structure the hotel tower is sitting on is likely to repaired and repurposed after the tower is down.  "I would be surprise if the building actually get demolised all the way to the ground," Bosworth says.  

But why save a building that has gone through such a disaster?  "A nine-story structure you can use as parking and you can use as retail space and event space is way more valuable than a pile of rubble or a park."

"Taking down the tower and reevaluating [the podium structure] would be better for everyone involved," Bosworth points out.  "Once you get the tower down, once you clean up the site, people can go about their business.  And I think that's the goal of the City, as much as possible and certainly the developers as well."
 

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