AKA: McGuire Apartments, Belltown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses - apartment houses

Designers: Hewitt Architects (firm); McCarthy Building Companies, Incorporated, General Contractors (firm); David McArthur Hewitt (architect); Timothy McCarthy (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 2000-2001, demolished 2011

25 stories

210 Wall Street
Belltown, Seattle, WA 98121

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The McGuire Building was located at 2nd Avenue and Wall Street.


One of a group of apartment towers built in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the McGuire Building, finished in 2001, attained notoriety for structural flaws that required its demolition about 10 years after its completion. Built at a cost of $32 million, the 272-unit building was designed by Seattle's Hewitt Architects and erected by the Bellevue office of McCarthy Building Companies. The building's owner, Carpenter’s Tower LLC, sued Hewitt and McCarthy, "...alleging negligence and failure to adhere to industry standards." (See Nicole Tsong and Mike Carter, Seattle Times, "9-year-old Belltown high-rise too flawed to fix," accessed 06/23/2016.) Because a concrete chunk of the highrise fell in 04/2006, the owners commissioned an engineering consultant, Olympic Associates Company, to investigate the building's structural condition. Its report described "...extensive water damage, rust and some concrete spalling or flaking." Steel, post-tensioning cables were improperly insulated from moisture, and Olympic Associates' report "showed that one-third of the building’s connecting tendons would have failed by 2019." (See Nicole Tsong and Mike Carter, Seattle Times, "9-year-old Belltown high-rise too flawed to fix," accessed 06/23/2016.) Estimates to repair the reinforcing members ran to $80 million in 2010, apparently twice the cost of building another 25-story residential tower. The decision was made in 04/2010 to evict four commercial lessees and apartment renters in the tower to enable demolition. Financial incentives were offered to those displaced to ameliorate their transitions out of the building.

Building History

Seattle's Carpenters Union, Local 131, and the Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), owned Carpenter's Tower, LLC. They commissioned the Seattle based architecture firm Hewitt Architects, with extensive experience building apartment buildings, and the large-scale builder McCarthy Building Companies to erect this rental apartment tower.

The PRNewswire web site described the McGuire Building's engineering deficiencies: "The building owner has informed officials at the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) of the extensive construction defects, which principally involve corrosion of post-tensioned cables and concrete material and reinforcement placement deficiencies. The post-tensioned cables are corroding because the ends of the cables were not properly protected with corrosion preventative paint, and the grout used to seal the cable ends and anchors was not the specified non-shrink grout and was defectively installed. As a result, water leaked into these areas and caused the cable ends to rust, and then corrode. In addition, reinforcement placement in the building's exterior frame is defective, resulting in cracking and spalling of concrete, as well as structural impairment." This description of the defects came from Kennedy Associates Real Estate Counsel, LP, the legal consultants to Carpenter's Tower LLC, the building owner, 04/10/2010. (See PRNewswire.com, "Belltown Apartment Building to Be Vacated and Dismantled," accessed 06/23/2016.) The failure of the McGuire Building attracted the attention of a professional group, the Post-Tensioning Institute, which campaigned for more uniform standards for the waterproofing of the ends of post-tensioning cables.

In 2015, the developer AvalonBay Communities, a equity REIT based in Arlington, VA, proposed constructing an apartment building with 320 apartments and 9,750 square feet of retail space at the 210 Wall Street site once occupied by the McGuire Building. AvalonBay commissioned Seattle-based Ankrom Moissan Architects to design its proposed 24-story highrise.

Building Notes

The building contained a four-story reinforced concrete parking garage, the top of which supported a park. On the seventh floor, five townhouses stood detached from the main tower. The building contained a fitness room, media room and study.


Due to its profound structural problems, the McGuire Building at 210 Wall Street was demolished in stages ten years after it was built, in 2011. Demolition took place in four parts over 14 months, beginning on 05/05/2011. First, Mass Demolition tore down the parking garage up to the lvel of the apartment tower's first floor. Second, Floor-by-Floor Demolition started from the floor 25, the top level, down to level 6. Third, Mass Demolition returned to raze floors 1-6. Fourth, subsurface foundations of the garage and tower were removed and replaced with a 5-foot deep hole covered in gravel.

A worker driving a Bobcat on the site's 22nd floor was killed during the demolition process on 09/15/2011. He was employed by LVI Services, a subcontractor of the demolition contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis.

PCAD id: 20266