ROCKFORD (WREX) — On Saturday morning, a future Hard Rock Hotel collapsed near the French Quarter in New Orleans. Two workers were killed and one remains missing, as a second crane near the construction site is at risk of toppling over.
While it’s unclear what caused the hotel’s collapse or whose fault it is, Rockford aldermen are paying close attention, especially Venita Hervey, as the city anticipates a Hard Rock to open in the Forest City.
“I asked the question at City Council about the safety of the guitar,” the Fifth Ward Alderwoman says.
Hervey had concerns about the Hard Rock’s plan for Rockford, specifically the 100-foot tall Rick Nielsen guitar that, according to several designs, would go in front of the casino as a tourist attraction.
“We don’t have a sign of that height,” Ald. Hervey says. “I didn’t see any guide wire or anything holding the structure up. Is it safe? What kind of the wind speeds can it resist? And I still don’t know what it’s made out of.”
However, other aldermen, like Third Ward Alderman Chad Tuneberg told 13 News his thoughts in the following statement:
“Although accidents do happen, all Rockford Hard Rock structures — including the large guitar — have to meet specific structural requirements that are mandated by the city of Rockford building codes. I’m confident in the skills and expertise of our local contractors and union tradesmen. I’m sure they will be doing their best in building a structurally safe and sound entertainment venue.”
Fourteenth Ward Ald. Joseph Chiarelli also responded to 13 News by saying, “I do feel very confident in the contractors skills and the quality of their work that will be building the Hard Rock Casino.”
Additionally, Ald. Dr. Tim Durkee agreed saying what happened in New Orleans shouldn’t worry people here at home.
“Far more buildings go up than come down, and from my perspective in the cheap seats, it’s probably some anomaly in the building,” Ald. Dr. Durkee says.
We reached out to Hard Rock for comment and while no one would go on camera, a statement was sent to 13 News:
“Citadel Builders LLC was contracted by Kailas Companies, owner of the project, to build the Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans based on a brand licensing agreement with Hard Rock International, the future manager of the hotel. Hard Rock has had no involvement in the construction of the project. We want to extend our deepest sympathies to victims of this tragic accident and to their loved ones and friends.”
Meanwhile concerning Rockford’s Hard Rock project, the state of Illinois has yet to make a final decision on the plans for the Hard Rock Casino, but if the deal does get approved, Ringland-Johnson Construction will build the project. Hard Rock says the development company has 70 years of experience as well as a strong safety record.