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Hard Rock Hotel collapse demolition moving quickly, Canal St. reopening in sight

If all goes according to plan, lakebound Canal Street could be reopened by the end of February, and North Rampart Street could be reopened by April.

NEW ORLEANS — Going, going -- almost gone.

That’s about the best way to describe the Hard Rock Hotel on Canal Street these days.

Crews have been busy in recent days demolishing the lower eight floors of the building.

The hope is that more streets can reopen in the near future.

Some Canal Street businesses were taken by surprise this week when parts of the concrete structure, which would have been a parking garage and some commercial space -- began to fall.

The New Orleans Fire Department on Wednesday said those were controlled collapse being done by the contractor hired to raze the building.

The building is owned by 1031 Canal Development. An attorney representing the company did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.

But Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she’s pleased with the demolition’s progress, even if it’s months behind.

“We have had to keep … accountability on the ownership,” she said.

On Thursday, large machines chewed through rocks of concrete and sliced through thick steel cables as demolition work continued.

In the days after the deadly collapse, Cantrell said she didn't want a piece of the Hard Rock left standing.

The question now: what's next for the site at Canal and North Rampart after the site is cleared?

“It's zoned appropriately for redevelopment,” Cantrell said, noting that it is privately owned. “I do want to see that site developed.

“This is our opportunity to make sure that the owners develop a project that is credible, that they have a team in place that can do the work,” Cantrell said.

If all goes according to plan, lakebound Canal Street could be reopened by the end of February, and North Rampart Street could be reopened by April.

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