Officials approve $42 million to implode old Riviera

Traffic passes in front of the Riviera on Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Las Vegas. The casino closed at noon May 4.

It’s official: Two hotel towers at the shuttered Riviera will be subject to separate implosions in June and August, more than a year after the historic resort closed its doors.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority today approved paying $42 million to the contractor that will bring the Riviera buildings down. Officials say separate implosions are necessary because of the large size the Riviera, which closed last May after the authority purchased it to expand its convention space.

The demolition contract for Las Vegas-based WA Richardson Builders LLC was first recommended for approval by an authority committee late last month. The contractor will be responsible for demolishing the buildings as well as abating hazardous materials and preparing the site for use as outdoor exhibit space afterward.

Even before the implosions of the Riviera’s Monte Carlo and Monaco hotel towers, crews are expected to tear down other buildings, such as parking garages and the property’s convention center, although it’s not clear when that will happen. Specific dates for the hotel tower implosions have not been set, either.

Demolition-related work will cost about $5 million more than originally anticipated because of asbestos found in the exterior of the Monte Carlo tower that needs to be removed before its implosion. To accomplish that, workers will have to scaffold the entire outside of the tower and create an airtight wrapping while they remove the asbestos.

The asbestos was found by Terracon Consultants Inc., whom the authority previously contracted to investigate the site for hazardous materials. The board also approved adding $1 million to an existing agreement with Terracon today, a cost the authority was already prepared to cover.

Because of the asbestos in the Monte Carlo tower, the Monaco tower will likely be imploded first, according to Cordell Corp. principal Terry Miller, whose firm has been working with the authority on the Riviera project.

Once all of the Riviera buildings have come down and the site is cleaned up, the authority plans for the land to become outdoor exhibit space. That needs to be done by early 2017 so a major trade show can use the land.

Eventually, the authority wants the Riviera site to house a huge expansion of its Las Vegas Convention Center, which is located just across Paradise Road. Those plans are being weighed and vetted by the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.