New Orleans issues permit to demolition collapsed hotel


FILE – This Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, shows damage of a partial collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans. Dozens of protesters marched from the site of the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel on the edge of the French Quarter to City Hall on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 demanding that something be done about the hotel and that the two bodies still inside be recovered. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Plans to demolish the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, which partially collapsed in October, were given the go-ahead Thursday after months of disagreements between the developer and the city.

The hotel developer, 1031 Canal Street Development, received a permit to demolish the 18-story building piece-by-piece using cranes, news outlets reported.

The developer’s attorney, Kerry Miller, said the teams could begin preparing for the demolition by Monday at the site just outside the French Quarter.

The hotel was still under construction when its upper floors collapsed on Oct. 12, killing three workers and injuring dozens more. Two of the deceased workers remain in the building.

Demolition work can’t start until the developer gets permission from the city’s Historic District Landmarks Commission to knock down three nearby buildings in the debris zone.

The commission is expected to vote on the issue next week.

If that’s approved, the developers said they could have the bodies recovered from the site within 30 days and the entire structure removed within six months.

In March, the city and 1031 Canal were at an impasse on whether to move forward with traditional demolition, meaning piece by piece, or implosion. City officials had argued that implosion would be quicker and safer, but that option was dropped when it became apparent that would make liability insurance skyrocket.

Authorities are still seeking to determine the cause of the collapse. Attorneys for various parties involved in lawsuits over the collapse discussed plans for preserving evidence during Thursday’s hearing.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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