Decision comes after structural mistakes found in Harmon project

MGM Mirage has recommended that one of six towers of its CityCenter resort complex be capped at slightly more than half its planned height rather than absorb the cost of a substantial redesign and correction of the building to compensate for “contractor errors.”

As originally designed, the Harmon Hotel & Spa was to be a 49-story building containing 400 hotel rooms on the lower floors and 200 condominiums on the upper floors. But the discovery last summer of rebar problems in 14 floors of the building had the contractor facing a major repair job that would have required some demolition of the building already completed. Construction of the Harmon has been stopped at the 23rd floor since last August.

Rather than absorb the expense of correcting the problem (Clark County inspectors found some cut ties and some improperly spaced rebar), MGM Mirage opted to simply complete the hotel portion of the building and eliminate the condo part of the project. At the shorter height, structural integrity of the building would not be affected by the improperly installed rebar (steel rods used to reinforce concrete). And the condos would not be missed as the souring economy has greatly reduced the market for such residences.

Before proceeding with the shorter Harmon, MGM Mirage must clear its decision with its lenders and joint venture partner Dubai World.

Meanwhile, MGM Mirage began taking applications in early January for some 12,000 jobs that will need to be filled once the project opens at the end of 2009. The project includes the 4,000-room Aria hotel and casino along with nongaming luxury hotels, condominiums and retail.