Sunday, April 11, 2010
The McGuire Is Coming Down!
You know, last week on this crappy blog, I did my usual snarky McGuire Scaffold-Watch and I jokingly wrote that they should just tear the place down and start over. Well, how prophetic! That's just what's going to happen. All tenants are being encouraged to move out by summer with monetary incentives, then the entire building will be gutted and demolished sometime next winter. By my reckoning, the 25-story, $31 million McGuire will be the largest and costliest building demolition in Belltown history.
So how did we get to this point? I mean, other new-ish buildings have had scaffolds around them, most notably Seattle Heights at 2600 2nd Ave. and the nearby Belltown Court. The latter was encased for something like three years and for one of those, it was wrapped in plastic. But both of these buildings shed their scaffolds and are now leading productive lives - Belltown Court in particular. It is home to many wonderful restaurants and the Macrina Bakery. What made the powers at the McGuire decide to pack it in? Well, among its many problems, the one that proved fatal is the corrosion of its post-tension cable design. As the cables continue to corrode, the building's structural integrity will fail. At least that's my understanding of it. The official explanation is here. And so the McGuire's nine years of existence will come to an end this winter. It's tough to believe that a building that's practically new (compared to the one I live in) can be so substantially flawed. And the supreme irony here is that the McGuire is co-owned by the Carpenters' Union. I know that carpenters aren't structural engineers or architects, but you'd think they would at least know a good building from a bad one. Well, they've got one of the worst.
You know, I've derided the McGuire a lot in the past, but this is really a terrible situation. Yes, hundreds of people are being forced to move, but the real sad stories are the retailers who have worked to build businesses, particularly the Quint Eby Salon and the Local Vine. I'm sure the Fedex Office Store (formerly Kinko's) will land on its feet. I just hope it stays in the neighborhood. So that's it - everybody loses. I'm sure there will be years of lawsuits that follow in the wake of this debacle. For all tenants of the McGuire, you have my supreme sympathy. And to everyone involved in its structural design and materials procurement, why do you guys still have jobs?
From now on McGuire Scaffold-Watch will become McGuire Deathwatch. I will update as to the method of the demolition when it becomes public. I'm hoping for an implosion. How about you? Me, I'm just hoping that the next building to go up there - whatever its size - will stand more than a paltry nine years. But the housing market being what it is, it might spend years as a vacant lot.
(Cross-posted at the P-I Blog)