Riviera too big to implode all at once, official says

One hotel tower likely to come down in June, the other in August

Lights are shown on the Riviera facade Sunday, May 3, 2015, before the casino closed.

The hotel towers at the shuttered Riviera will likely face two separate implosion dates later this year: one in June and another in August.

That’s according to plans revealed Tuesday to a committee of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which met to consider approving about $42 million for the contractor that will bring the buildings down. Plans still require approval from the convention authority’s full board next month.

Terry Jicinsky, the authority’s senior vice president of operations, said after Tuesday's meeting that separate implosions are required because of the expansive layout of the Riviera, a large hotel with separate towers.

“It’s just too big to do all at once,” he said. It wouldn’t be safe to demolish both towers simultaneously, Jicinsky said.

Aside from the hotel towers, the rest of the Riviera structures will actually start to come down even before the first implosion. Crews will start by demolishing the low-rise buildings such as parking garages and the hotel’s convention center, Jicinsky said.

The committee recommended approving the demolition contract for WA Richardson Builders LLC, whose $42 million bid was the lowest of four competitive bids submitted for the work. Terry Miller of Cordell Corp. told the committee that the total budget for the demolition phase of the project will end up being about $5 million more than expected, however, because of asbestos found in the outside stucco of the Monte Carlo tower.

Riviera Closes After 60 Years

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

To address that, the contractor will need to scaffold the tower’s whole exterior and create an airtight “wrapping” while removing the asbestos, according to Miller’s presentation. The extra cost is expected to be covered by funds from an authority contingency reserve.

The asbestos was discovered by Terracon Consultants Inc., whom the authority brought on board last year to investigate the site for hazardous materials. The committee also recommended approval of increasing an existing agreement with Terracon by nearly $1 million, a cost that was already covered by the authority’s budget.

The authority bought the Riviera for $182.5 million in February 2015, and the hotel closed in May of that year. The authority hopes to use the site for an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, located just across Paradise Road from the hotel.

Before work on the convention center project begins, the Riviera site will be used for outdoor exhibit space and parking. A major construction industry trade show plans to use it in March 2017.