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Hard Rock demolition plans not finalized after developers, city miss deadline

Updated: Apr. 29, 2020 at 4:15 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Attorneys for the city and Hard Rock developers failed to meet a court-imposed deadline today to finalize a demolition plan.

Both sides met privately with Orleans Civil Court judge Kern Reese late this afternoon and there’s still no deal.

Contractors for 1031 Canal assured an Orleans Civil Court judge that two bodies could be removed from the rubble of the hard rock site by mid-July. All sides came back together to discuss a plan to move forward in an ordeal that’s been grueling for victim’s families

Hard Rock contractors proposed removing a dangling construction crane, before demolishing the upper eight floors of the building.

They also said they could safely remove the bodies of Quinyon Wimberly and Jose Ariola after dismantling the floors above them.

Meanwhile, a leading local engineer says the time is right.

“We’ve got a quiet downtown because of coronavirus let’s take advantage of this,” Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., UNO civil engineering, said.

Judge Reese set a deadline of today for all sides to come together on a permit but after a brief status hearing this afternoon the judge ordered everyone back before him tomorrow to apparently settle issues that remain outstanding.

For victims’ families, the work can’t move forward fast enough. But their wait for the demolition of a deadly eyesore goes on.

The Preservation Resource Center has expressed concerns about the demolition of historic sites around the Hard Rock.

Today, PRC put out a statement that says as redevelopment moves forward it will look for a plan that “best serves residents and the economy of New Orleans while honoring and preserving the historic architecture of the area”.

All sides go back to virtual court for a zoom hearing tomorrow morning as efforts to settle demolition issues continue.

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