Construction of the Hard Rock Hotel in Manhattan is underway again after a change of the project's general contractor, the New York Post reported. AECOM Tishman reportedly took over for Plaza Construction.
The Post quoted sources that indicated Extell Development, which is building the hotel in partnership with Hard Rock International, was unhappy with Plaza and the bureaucracy it had to go through to get routine project-related approvals from its Chinese owner, China Construction America, a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corp.
The president of Plaza, Richard Wood, said the management at Plaza is the same as it was before CCA purchased it back in 1994 and that the end to the relationship with Extell was a friendly one.
In a statement to Construction Dive, Wood said that Plaza was hired for preconstruction work on the hotel and that Plaza completed that work satisfactorily. Wood added that Plaza agreed to step aside when AECOM Tishman, which has a previous relationship with Extell, became available to work on the project.
Wood also took issue with the idea that its Chinese ownership had affected its operations negatively.
“Plaza operates autonomously and independently, and its operations management is not controlled by its parent company." Wood told Construction Dive. "Any statement to the contrary is completely false and absurd.
"At no time has Plaza’s parent company participated, reviewed or even approved any of Plaza’s endeavors on the Hard Rock project or other construction projects in New York City. Plaza has a 30-year-plus history as an independent American company managing building projects with distinction, quality and integrity and is ranked among the top 10 builders in New York.”
Earlier this year, Resorts World Casino New York City selected Plaza as construction manager for the second phase of the $400 million expansion of its casino in the New York City borough of Queens. The casino already draws 10 million visitors annually, and Resorts World is adding 500,000 square feet, which will include additional gaming space and a 10-story hotel with conference areas and retail.
In Miami, Plaza is building a $540 million entertainment and observation tower that is expected to open in 2023. The 1,000-foot-tall SkyRise Miami entertainment and observation tower will include amusement park-style attractions like a 908-foot-high skywalk and an indoor ride with a drop speed of 95 mph. The tower will also feature restaurants, event and ballroom space and a conference center. When finished, the structure is slated to be the tallest building in Florida.