One person is dead and three are still missing after part of the Hard Rock hotel under construction in downtown New Orleans collapsed Saturday morning with what witnesses described as a rumble and giant cloud of dust. Multiple injuries have been reported, authorities said.
In an 11:20 a.m. news conference near the scene, New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell said the upper six to eight floors of the structure collapsed and that the building remains very unstable. Nearby buildings have been evacuated.
Authorities said 18 people had been transported to the area hospitals. They were reported in stable condition. There are no reports of anyone on the street being injured.
The site is located at the corner of Canal and North Rampart streets.
It’s unclear what caused the collapse.
Plans for the 18-story, mixed use development were unveiled in February of 2018. Led by Florida-based Hard Rock International, the development called for 350 hotel rooms on the site of the former Woolworth Department Store.
The project has been in the works for the better part of the last decade, and has stirred controversy at times.
In 2011, the City Council voted to give then-developer Praveen Kailas zoning waivers to allow the project to proceed, the most controversial of which was an allowance for extra height. The zoning at the time would have limited the building’s height to 70 feet.
Read the full story at Nola.com.