Developers Want to Demolish 3 Buildings Near Hard Rock

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The developers of a hotel that partially collapsed on the edge of the French Quarter filed permits with the city in order to take down three adjacent buildings as part of their plans to demolish the hotel.

But the Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported that historic preservationists and at least one City Council member worry the demolition of the three buildings near the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel may not be necessary.

“It’s been a tragedy,” Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates Executive Director Erin Holmes said of the collapse. He said the organization would oppose any further demolition at the site unless there is a “clear need” for their removal. “”We don’t need to continue removing the historic fabric of Canal Street.”

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The proposal involves tearing down two buildings on Canal Street and one on Iberville Street. The buildings survived the collapse and are owned by the major partners in the hotel project.

The permit requests were filed earlier this month. According to the filings, it is necessary to tear down the buildings “to facilitate demolitions operations and planning” at the Hard Rock site.

A representative for the business group behind the Hard Rock project did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.

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The upper floors of the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed on Oct. 12 as the hotel was under construction. Three workers were killed. The remains of two of the workers are still in the building.

Officials had first planned to bring down the hotel’s remains using controlled demolitions. Then the plans were changed after concerns the implosions would damage nearby buildings. Now, the building will be demolished in a longer process by which the remains will be shored up and then the building taken apart piecemeal.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said the developers hadn’t yet turned in a complete demolition plan explaining how getting rid of the adjacent buildings would be part of the hotel demolition.

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Kristin Gisleson Palmer, the councilwoman who represents the area where the site is located, said she has raised her worries about the plan to the mayor’s office.

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