Report Cites Building Materials in Monte Carlo Fire

More than seven months after a fire at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, news has emerged that the exterior wall claddings at the property did not meet the building code at the time of original construction in 1996. Fire protection and engineering firm Hughes Associates Inc. prepared a report for the Clark County Development Services’ building division to assist in determining the materials that were involved in the Jan. 25. The fire, which was started by workmen on the roof area, spread over the upper portion of the exterior wall claddings on the south and west facing sides of the hotel towers. The report discovered that the primary contributor to the progression of the fire was the combustion of materials in the decorative band at the top of the wall, the decorative band at the top of the 32nd floor and the unknown materials in the medallions. The report stated that the Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) would have met the building code requirements if it was properly applied. But based on analysis of the samples, the EIFS lamina did not have the correct thickness, with some areas ranging from 28 up to 69 percent less than a nominal minimum thickness. Additionally, decorative items were also placed along these exteriors without the EIFS lamina covering at all. The report concluded while that the EIFS was not the primary cause of the continued progression of the fire, it wasn’t as retardant as it should have been.”We wanted to examine the totality of the incident and we needed to determine if any of the materials contributed or exacerbated the spread of the fire because they clearly didn’t cause it,” Ron Lynn, director of development for Clark County, told CPN. “There is no reason to believe that any other structure used this paint and it was only in the one location on the building,” Lynn said. Because of the findings, the county is requiring MGM Mirage Corp. to hire a Nevada-registered fire protection engineer to recommend how to address the issues noted in the analysis, a Clark County spokesperson told CPN. Although it is too early to say exactly what the recommendations may be, they could range from painting certain areas to replacing some decorative pieces. The Monte Carlo (pictured) has 3,002 guest rooms and opened in 1996 at an original cost of $344 million. A $19 million renovation was completed in August 2004. The news comes on the heels of several snags in Vegas development projects. On Aug. 18 CPN reported that the groundbreaking on The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas was put off until next year. The delay is part of an agreement by Goldman Sachs Group and Credit Suisse Group to give the project’s developer an additional six months to repay $625 million in loans. The project will total 15 million square feet, including 3,500 hotel rooms and 1 million square feet of The Plaza Private Residences. It was originally scheduled to open in 2011. No new target date was announced. Additionally, in July, CPN reported that the master developer of the 3,600-acre Lake Las Vegas Resort filed Chapter 11, though Lake at Las Vegas Joint Venture L.L.C. has since seen its application for debtor-in-possession financing approved. The project includes a 320-acre man-made lake, three golf courses and more than 1,600 completed residential units. And following an announcement by Boyd Gaming Corp. that it was delaying the $4.8 billion Echelon project because of the troubled economic climate, Morgans Hotel Group withdrew from a joint venture agreement under which it would have developed a Mondrian and a Delano hotel as part of the project. Construction on the 87-acre project began in June 2007 on the site of the former Stardust. Even retail is being hit by the downturn. CPN reported last month that General Growth Properties had delayed the opening of its 1.4 million-square-foot Shops at Summerlin Centre regional mall by up to a year, citing a desire to boost the project’s preleasing. The center will be anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Crate & Barrel. The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Mirage, which owns and operates 17 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan, and has 50 percent investments in four other properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois and Macau.