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Sounds like the contractor who built that tower now has a bad reputation and may go bankrupt, thanks to the careless quality control inspectors.
 

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More information about this case.

Builder: No need to demolish 2001 Belltown apartment building

The company that built the McGuire Apartments in Belltown says the building is safe and there's no reason to tear it down. The statement came a day after the 9-year-old building's owner, Carpenter's Tower LLC, announced the 25-story tower would be vacated by Dec. 31, then demolished, because of construction defects too expensive to fix.

The company that built the McGuire Apartments in Belltown says the building is safe and there's no reason to tear it down.

"Our experts ... have conducted sophisticated, thorough testing of the building components at issue and determined that it is entirely safe,... " a spokeswoman for McCarthy Building Companies of St. Louis said in an e-mail on Monday.

"With reasonable remediation, maintenance and monitoring, long-term ongoing operations could continue."

McCarthy's statement came a day after the 9-year-old building's owner, Carpenter's Tower LLC, announced the 25-story tower would be vacated by Dec. 31, then demolished, because of construction defects too expensive to fix.

McCarthy did not respond to a request for more details on its assertion. Carpenter's Tower's representative, Kennedy Associates, has indicated it would answer reporters' questions Monday night.

The owner and builder have been mired in litigation over the building's construction for more than three years.

Seattle's Department of Planning and Development said in a letter to Kennedy Friday that it had reviewed engineering reports on the McGuire's structural problems and agreed the building is deteriorating and should be vacated.

But in its statement, McCarthy said "it is critical for Seattle Department of Planning and Development to be fully informed of the opinions of experienced professionals who have examined this subject in depth. ... "

McCarthy is one of the country's largest commercial builders, but it no longer maintains an office in the Seattle area or builds projects here.

Meanwhile, Seattle city officials were poring over records Monday to see if they had missed any red flags during construction of the 272-apartment building a decade ago.

"Our first responsibility is to find out what happened here," Alan Justad, deputy director of the Department of Planning and Development, said Monday. "So far, I'm not hearing we had any special concerns raised, which is surprising."

Justad said city officials probably would complete in the next day or two their review of inspection reports "several inches thick" that were submitted during the McGuire's construction by Mayes Testing Engineers of Lynnwood.

Mayes served as "special inspector" for structural concrete construction on the project, working on the city's behalf, Justad said. The McGuire's owners have identified corrosion of steel reinforcing cables in the building's concrete slabs as the biggest structural defect and attributed the problem to inadequate rustproofing.

Mayes President Mike Mayes said in an e-mail Monday that his firm inspected the placement and stressing of the "post-tensioned" cables, but "inspection of the post tension cable terminations, including the application of rust inhibitors, was not part of our scope of inspection on this project."

He did not respond to a request for clarification.

Mayes also noted in his e-mail that his firm is not a party in the lawsuit, and has made all its records available to the city, the owners and contractors.

According to its Web site, Mayes has provided inspection services for a number of high-profile buildings, including the new Escala condominium tower and Aspira apartments in downtown Seattle, the office tower known until recently as the WaMu Center, and Bellevue City Hall.

City code allows third-party "special inspectors" for some kinds of specialized construction, Justad said. The project's owner — in this case, Carpenter's Tower — "nominates" and pays them, and the city accepts them if the inspectors are certified by the Washington Association of Building Officials.

If not for "special inspectors," Justad said, the city might have to hire another 10 or 12 inspectors during construction booms.

Mayes was supposed to be on the McGuire site during "significant structural concrete construction," Justad said. "There are things we count on them to keep track of."

If Mayes had observed problems, he said, it could have notified city officials, who have the power to issue stop-work orders, but that apparently did not happen.

In court documents, Carpenter's Tower — a joint venture of the local carpenters union and several pension funds — has estimated the cost of repairs to the McGuire at $80 million. The building has an assessed value of about $60 million, according to county records.

Kennedy has offered the McGuire's tenants financial incentives to move out quickly.

Justad said he knows of no other newer buildings in Seattle with similar problems. A construction lawyer not involved in the McGuire litigation said such legal disputes are highly unusual.

"You just don't see that many lawsuits alleging massive construction defects over this class of construction," said Mike Daudt, a partner at Terrell Marshall and Daudt, in Seattle.

Seattle Times staff reporter Susan Kelleher contributed to this report.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or [email protected]

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011591385_mcguire13.html
 

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Lusty Lady peep show going bust after 27 years! They are going, shall we say, tits up. I bet the developers of 4 Seasons are pissed.
 

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I think the developer would just like to sell the remaining units. They might be a little bitter about having paid $850k for air rights over the property (according to wiki) but would that really change the basic story that there are about 10 unsold units out of 36 last I heard.
No, it wouldn't. But the top end of the real estate market has collapsed. Over here on Capitol Hill, there is a 6 unit condo complex called Lakeview6. They had been on the market for starting at $1.1 million. Then there were liens against the property, and they all seemed to be off the market for about 9 months. They have since restarted marketing starting at $599,950. Now that's a haircut!
 

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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2011608786_office15.html Finally some good news in the Downtown Seattle office market! By some counts, vacancy rates have risen just a tiny bit, and by one they have actually decreased. Beginning of the recovery! And they make a good point about how although many of the new leases are just relocating from elsewhere in the city, they are taking up a lot more space than they previously did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,707 ·
^
Grubb & Ellis said the vacancy rate rose just 0.2 percent, to 19.1 percent, between December and March. That followed an increase of 7 full percent points during the last nine months of 2009.

Colliers' numbers show the rate declining from 17.67 to 17.66 percent, after a total increase of more than 4 percentage points over the previous three quarters.
Be thankful for small favors, I suppose.
 

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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2011608786_office15.html Finally some good news in the Downtown Seattle office market! By some counts, vacancy rates have risen just a tiny bit, and by one they have actually decreased. Beginning of the recovery! And they make a good point about how although many of the new leases are just relocating from elsewhere in the city, they are taking up a lot more space than they previously did.
It helps that builders are done with the large office projects, other than the Amazon stuff. With everything starting to swing the other direction I wonder how many companies that have been waiting for rock bottom will start singing long term leases.
 

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It's a good time to sign a lease.

The real "bottom" in lease terms isn't defined by vacancy rate however. It's defined by when landlords feel the most urgency. In a bad market, it's mostly about covering debt payments.

On the flip side, some landlords hold off, hoping for an upturn...if you can get 10% more by waiting six months (if you're an optimist, and have some cash), it won't take that long to pay off. And, if you have high debt payments, maybe you don't want to sign a lease that would permanently lock you into an income that's below your monthly costs.
 

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Good news for Selig.

Dendreon moving HQ to Selig building on waterfront

Seattle biotech Dendreon, fresh off winning regulatory approval for its cancer therapy, confirmed it's moving its headquarters and other local operations to a brand-new, bigger building.



Seattle biotech Dendreon, fresh off winning regulatory approval for its cancer therapy, confirmed Monday it's moving its headquarters and other local operations to a brand-new, bigger building.

The company has signed a letter of intent to lease developer Martin Selig's 635 Elliott building, spokeswoman Katherine Stueland said in an email.

Dendreon is leasing all 191,000 square feet in the four-story waterfront building completed last fall, she said. The lease is for 15 years, with options to renew for two more five-year terms.

"I couldn't be happier," Selig said. "They're a great company."

Brokers expect the Dendreon lease will be one of the biggest deals of the year.

The Food and Drug Administration last week approved Dendreon's application to market Provenge, a prostate-cancer therapy that is the country's first cancer-treatment vaccine.

The company's stock price soared on the news.

Dendreon, based in Seattle since 1998, now occupies about 130,000 square feet in three buildings in Belltown and along the waterfront. All those leases expire in 2011, and the biotech let it be known last year that it was looking for more space along the waterfront or in South Lake Union.

The building adjacent to the new Dendreon headquarters, 645 Elliott, remains unleased. Selig said several prospective tenants are interested.

The Dendreon deal is the second recent piece of good news for Selig. Last week, the General Services Administration, which handles real estate for federal agencies, announced it had leased 172,000 square feet in his 17-story Fifth & Yesler building, also completed last year.

Matt Christian, a senior director at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield-Commerce, called the deals "very good news for the market, and even better news for Selig."

The transactions "take him from a precarious position to one of real strength," Christian said.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or [email protected]
 

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From the Seattle Times article

Last week, the General Services Administration, which handles real estate for federal agencies, announced it had leased 172,000 square feet in his 17-story Fifth & Yesler building, also completed last year.
 

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Do we have thread that focus on buses? I tried to find it but can't find anywhere under Seattle forums. I will post the article here anyway.

Fate of trolleybuses hangs in balance

King County Metro Transit's fleet of 159 trolleybuses need to be replaced soon, but what they should be replaced with is up for debate.



About one-fifth of all King County Metro Transit rides are made on an electric bus, powered by a nonpolluting trolley wire overhead.

But the agency hasn't purchased a new trolleybus since 1979.

Since then, Metro bought new bus bodies and fastened old electric motors onto them. They pulled out the diesel engines from a fleet of dual-mode buses, so they ran only on their electric motors. These minor miracles saved the public tens of millions of dollars.

Now the day of reckoning has arrived.

By 2014, the agency expects its fleet of 159 trolleybuses to wear out.

At the Sodo maintenance base, trolleybus-maintenance manager Mike Eeds pointed to a crack in a steel roof member, near the rear door of a bus. It's not a safety hazard but could cause leaks — and cracks are expected to spread through the fleet. Worn-out teeth were being replaced on the same bus's drive axle. Metro has been cannibalizing spare parts, but those will run out by 2016, he said.

County elected officials must decide by next year whether to retire the old trolleybuses, buy new-generation models or switch to some other technology.

An audit last year suggested tearing out the overhead wires and switching to hybrid buses, whose diesel engines are supplemented with onboard batteries. Doing so could ostensibly save $8 million a year compared to trolleybuses, by reducing electrical-maintenance costs and making route schedules more flexible, the audit says.

But many residents along the routes, and Seattle transportation director Peter Hahn, insist on preserving electric buses because they are quiet and nonpolluting. Seattle ranks third of only six cities in the U.S. and Canada that operate trolleybuses, behind San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C. Edmonton removed its trolleybus wires last year, but Laval, Quebec, is considering a brand-new system using local hydropower.

More than pollution

The debate here involves issues far beyond pollution and noise, with a major consideration being torque — electric motors have superior power to turn bus axles coming off a dead stop.

"San Francisco and Seattle have hills that are alike, up and down. There's no way you can put diesel buses on the hills," says Nathanael Chappelle, Metro's 2007 co-operator of the year. Eeds agrees, saying a "straight hybrid" wouldn't work.

Midway up Queen Anne Hill, a former cable-car route, the Number 3 and Number 13 buses stop for passengers on a 15 percent slope. When the wheels turn again, the acceleration pushes people firmly into their seat backs. The best drivers wait for all to find a seat, or feather the accelerator pedal, so as not to topple unstable riders in the aisle.

Larry Nelson, living in a fourth-floor hillside apartment, says sparks fly off the wire or the tires spin on damp pavement. Still, that's better than smelling diesel, he says.

In the overhead network, there are dead spots where electricity is interrupted, so a bus must build momentum to coast through, but not faster than 10 mph.

Take a curve too fast, and the power poles fall off the charged wires — trolleybus driver Chai Kunjara compares the physics to a waterskiier who swings wide faster than the powerboat.

Despite the quirks, he says, the steering handles smoothly, the dashboard console is simple and one can navigate by following the wires, though sometimes drivers forget and stray off them.

The downside of trolleybuses is inflexibility. In the ice storm of December 2008, several trolleybuses on First Hill became stuck, paralyzing the central-city service as the following buses couldn't pass. Diesel buses can go around stalls — Metro says it will "dieselize" its electric Number 70 route for three years because of the upcoming Mercer Street reconstruction.

Trolleybuses cost $1 million or more, compared with $720,000 for diesel-hybrids. Auditors also point out there's only one North American trolleybus maker, exacerbating the risk of higher costs.

On the other hand, Vancouver is happy with its 2007 models by Winnipeg-based New Flyer, and expects them to last more than 20 years each. Dayton, Ohio, imported Czech buses for final assembly in the U.S. Hahn argues there's no danger a robust international trolleybus industry will go extinct.

Exploring options

The County Council has ordered a technical study. Councilman Larry Phillips, D-Magnolia, argues electric buses support the fight against sprawl, by making busy city neighborhoods more pleasant.

The timing is awkward. Hydrogen vehicles or plug-in electric buses seem promising, but Metro can't wait until those technologies mature. That leaves other options:

• Order a trolleybus with supplementary batteries charged through overhead power and regenerative braking — so the bus can sometimes detour off-wire.

• Combine overhead power with a supplementary diesel motor, for long or short stretches off-wire.

• Travel wire-free using electric batteries and high-torque motors, to be recharged by a diesel motor running at a steady, fuel-efficient rate. Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond also hopes to research whether there's a bus available to use overhead power in-city, then continue off-wire several miles farther out.

Just last year, Metro published a paper describing a better "Rapid Trolley Network" that provided trips as frequent as every six minutes. There could be off-board payment and roomier vehicles, like a train. New wires over Denny Way, Yesler Way and East Madison Street would fill gaps in trolleybus routes.

When the county took over Seattle bus lines in 1973, the deal guaranteed "electric trolley service" shall continue, transportation Director Hahn's letter emphasizes. The city is writing a new transit plan that likely would keep or even expand the lines, he said in an interview.

"We believe, in terms of climate change, greenhouse-gas goals, this is the most reliable technology."

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or [email protected]

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011818844_trolleybus09m.html
 

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Yeah I think there's enough powerful politicians in the area against removing them that they will stay around. It's a crucial part of our transit infrastructure and we have to make sure we keep and expand it!
 

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Why would anybody demolish a 25-storey building that's only 9 years old? The mcGuire was such a well-designed building, and now it has to be torn down because of structural defects?
 
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