Even when it implodes, the plan goes awry at Clarion Hotel Casino

Steve marcus

The remains of the Clarion Hotel and Casino, with the elevator tower still standing, are shown after the building imploded on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. The hotel, opened in 1970, was once owned by actress Debbie Reynolds and her called the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel. A mixed-use complex, intended for conventioneers, is planned on the site, according to developer Lorenzo Doumani.

The building has never been known for its cooperation.

From its opening in 1970 as the Royal Inn until its days as the Paddlewheel, Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel, WWF Hotel Casino and Greek Isles, nothing has ever worked as expected in the former Clarion Hotel Casino. .

Monday night and early this morning we brought more of the same from the hotel just west of Piero’s on Convention Center Drive. Condemned to implode around 3 a.m., the Clarion is still not completely destroyed.

The elevator tower on the west side of the building, the strongest component of the structure, rose up after owner Lorenzo Doumani struck a ceremonial piston to set off the explosives designed to bring down the old hotel.

“Are you kidding me?” Doumani said shortly after the dust settled. “We had the Hacienda, the Dunes, Stardust, Frontier who all did ‘whooomp! But not old Debbie Reynolds.

The implosion was delayed by about an hour as a few pedestrians who had entered the blast area were driven out. A few dozen guests attended the event from the Gold parking lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center across the street north of the Clarion.

As Doumani noted, the Clarion was supposed to be the 13th implosion in Las Vegas, and maybe that number turned out to be unlucky. It was the first implosion since 1957 for Controlled Demolition Inc. that did not go as planned.

In the history of the Las Vegas implosions, buildings collapsed after a few moments where it looked like they would withstand explosives designed to bring them down. In 1995, the Landmark fell into two pieces after being cut in half.

The Sands stood momentarily, as if in defiance, before falling in 1996. But the Clarion was the first to leave a room that was originally slated for demolition standing.

“It’s ‘The Terminator’ of hotels,” Doumani joked. “I’ll be back!”

As explained on site, the elevator shaft was held in place as debris fell from either side, jamming or “wedging” the column in place. As the video shows, the piece first dropped slightly when the explosives were triggered, and began to tilt west, but came to rest in place as the rest of the structure fell to the ground. in a giant plume of dust and dirt.

A crane was returned to the site today with the plan being for the tower to be overturned before the end of the day. The tower remains in the original footprint and traffic west of Debbie Reynolds Drive to the Strip remained closed this morning as crews continued their work.

As the demolition company officials pointed out, all of the more than 4,000 explosives installed in the building were detonated, in order, as planned. The building would simply not fall as expected.

“The elevator core is the strongest part of any building, including this one,” said Doumani. “This place may not have worked out well, but it won’t. At least not so easily.”

To pursue John Katsilometer on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also follow “Kats with the dish” on Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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