mark ​Photo: The Mark 

It’s been a busy month for Seattle’s tallest skyscraper. Chinese investors recently purchased the 76-story Columbia Center for $711 million and now the property is the focus of a lawsuit launched by the developers of the neighboring Mark tower project.

The Seattle Times reported on the “giant cables and shoring mechanisms” — which are meant to stabilize foundations and often extend into nearby property lines — that were apparently left in the ground 30 years ago when the city’s tallest tower was built. From the Times:

These tiebacks, as they’re called, “extend from Columbia Center under Columbia Street” and onto the site of The Mark, according to the [lawsuit filed by The Mark developer Daniels Real Estate].

It’s a standard construction technique, says Kate Simonen, a structural engineer and associate professor of architecture at the University of Washington: “You literally are tying the soil back so it’s not going to move.”

In most construction projects, new developments “usually get an easement from the property owners and it takes care of the costs,” Kevin Daniels of Daniels Real Estate told the Seattle Times. The current costs have already reached $550,000 not including extra labor costs and broken equipment.

While the cost is not a huge expense for the multi-million dollar development company, it is still an issue that must be solved before The Mark can continue with construction. Daniels Real Estate is officially seeking payment for issues caused by the “continuing trespass.” The Mark was originally anticipated to be completed in spring 2017. It remains to be seen if that target can be attained in light of the delays.

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