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Hard Rock developers ask to knock down 3 more buildings around hotel

Engineers and city leaders decided against original plans to implode the site because of concerns over damaging nearby buildings.

NEW ORLEANS — Developers are requesting permits to demolish three buildings surrounding the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel site.

The plan would involve tearing down three buildings -- two on Canal Street and one on Iberville Street -- in order to demolish the partially collapsed hotel.

Engineers and city leaders decided against contractors' original plans to implode the site because of concerns over damaging nearby buildings. 

“It’s been a tragedy,” Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates Executive Director Erin Holmes told NOLA.com of the collapse. “But we don’t need to continue removing the historic fabric of Canal Street. VCPORA is going to be opposed to any further demolition around the site unless a clear need is demonstrated for their removal.”

Three workers were killed and many more were injured when the top floors of the hotel collapsed on Oct. 12. The bodies of two workers are still in the rubble. 

FULL COVERAGE: Hard Rock hotel collapse: Investigation, Rescue & Recovery

Requests for permits to demolish the buildings at 1019 Canal St., 1027 Canal St. and 1022 Iberville St. were filed earlier this month.

The Canal Street properties are owned, through other companies, by Mohan Kailas, the majority stakeholder in the Hard Rock project. The Iberville property is owned by Todd Trosclair, a minority partner in the project. 

There's concern the developers will benefit from knocking down the buildings, since it would leave vacant space to be sold or redeveloped to pay for the piling costs of the collapse.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Monday said she does not necessarily want to see any additional demolition on Canal Street. But she said engineers have said that might have to happen in order for the Hard Rock to come down. She said she would support the additional demolitions in that case.

The CBD Historic District Landmarks Commission plans to weigh in on the demolition proposal during a hearing scheduled for Jan. 8. The City Council would have the ultimate say.

Councilwoman Kristin Palmer was not available for an interview but released the following statement: "I have met with neighborhood and preservationist groups concerned over this information and have raised those same concerns with the administration. I am confident that the Mayor’s team will do what they’ve done since day one of this disaster: make the most informed decisions for the benefit of the health and welfare of the city and not the developer."

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