NEW ORLEANS — The Hard Rock Hotel, which collapsed on Oct. 12, will not be stabilized until at least May and won't be demolished until at least December, city officials said Friday.
According to New Orleans Fire Department Chief Tim McConnell, the updated timeline is based on the most recent plans submitted to the city by the project developers, 1031 Canal Development LLC. Prior to those plans, which were given to the city Dec. 24, the date to shore up the building was Feb. 28.
"The City has made it clear to the ownership that they are unhappy with the timeline," McConnell said in New Orleans City Hall Friday. "The mark was missed, it's more than doubled the timeline."
McConnell said the process to install shores to stabilize the building is very labor-intensive and involves assembling several hundred four-by-four scaffolds to connect all the way to the roof of the building. He stressed it's the responsibility of Canal Development to demolish the structure.
"They caused it, it’s their job to fix this thing," McConnell said. "It is their responsibility to do this, the plan they have submitted is the plan going forward and we have asked them to shorten it."
The unfinished hotel at the corner of Canal and Rampart streets partially collapsed Oct. 12, 2019, killing three people and injuring dozens more. The bodies of two workers, 63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola and 36-year-old Quinnyon Wimberly, are trapped inside and can not be recovered safely ahead of the planned demolition.
FULL COVERAGE: Hard Rock hotel collapse: Investigation, Rescue & Recovery
The collapse forced an evacuation zone around the construction site, impacting businesses, traffic, tourism and more in the aftermath. Multiple lawsuits were quick to surround the incident as federal investigators continued to investigate the cause and city officials calculated the growing costs of clean up.
The timeline to take down the building had changed several times since its collapse, with engineers for Canal Developers switching from plans for an implosion to a piece-by-piece demolition.
Developers recently requested permits to demolish three buildings surrounding the collapsed 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.