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DIRTY DEALER STRUGGLES to UNDERSTAND PORT AUTHORITY OWNS UNIVERSITY SQUARE’S 40.5 MILLON $ PARKING GARAGE FAILURE
Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sun, 05/04/2008 - 15:42.
The plain, simple minded, Dirty Dealer is unable to cut through the glib assurances of Town Engineer Ciuni and others who continue to ambiguously suggest that the Cuyahoga County owned University Square Plaza (mall) 5 deck parking garage is structurally safe . The photo above shows a typical double T precast garage installation at another parking structure. Notice that there is much more depth of the vertical leg of the T resting on the horizontal (beam is concrete in the above photo but steel in USq.) beam than in the USq. garage lower photo here in an earlier article on Realneo.
It is my opinion that the USa. garage is not safe - and remember if there is a collapse the garage is OWNED by Cuyahoga County taxpayers.
Besides being unsafe, it is my opinion there is no way to practically “repair” the garage – and remember the garage is owned by Cuyahoga County taxpayers!
Here’s why the USa. garage is unsafe and UNREPAIRABLE!
The Dirty Dealer does not grasp that there is not one, but TWO failure MODE problems with the 900+ units of double “T” pre-stressed concrete floor planks:
1. FAILURE MODE ONE IS PARALELL WITH THE LONG AXIS OF THE BEAMS -WHERE THE UNSUPPORTED “ARMS” OF THE “T” ARE CRACKING ACROSS THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE PLANK ADJACENT TO and parallel with THE VERITCAL LEG OF THE “T” This failure can be seen on the entry/exit ramp from both the top and bottom sides. Newly installed short steel I beams (and not shoring frames) are being used to temporarily secure this failure mode.
2. FAILURE MODE TWO IS PERPENDICULAR TO THE LONG AXIS OF THE BEAMS AT EITHER END OF THE BEAMS WHERE THE CONCRETE PLANKS REST ON THE HORIZONTAL STEEL “I” BEAMS (which transfer the plank load to the vertical steel columns). This failure mode can be seen at the ends of the “T” beams directly adjacent to the shoring frames at all of the 35 shoring frame locations. (there are actually more than 35 shoring frame locations, and there are many locations were the planks have significant visible end cracking which are not shored). A few months ago I telephoned Mr. Ciuni and left a detailed voice message detailing the location of a few of these unsupported ends above the ramp which accesses the basement level of the garage. I never heard back from Mr. Ciuni.
When Mr. Simon, the engineer who originally designed the garage for Suffolk Construction (a Massachusetts general contractor), tells the DD that it is UPS delivery trucks that have caused the damage – that is false and deliberately misleading. Because there are many failed planks in mid floor areas of the garage where there is inadequate headroom for anything taller than a car or small van – it is clear that the planks are failing under the normal automobile design load. Two months ago when I spoke with Mr. Simon he told me that he had not even heard that there was a problem with the garage. Now he recently apparently told the DD reporter Patrick O’Donnell in the May 2, 2008 edition of the DD that there was a problem with a truck going up the ramp and damaging the ramp when the garage was under construction 5 years ago.
Anyway, if there was a weight limit going into the garage – shouldn’t there be an elevated bar across the entry which physically limits the height of entering vehicles?
Conclusion: This parking structure should be immediately closed and demolished. It is an accident waiting to happen. Spending any more County money on it will be throwing good money after bad.
Did Star Wasserman know the garage was already failing when Star sold the USq. Plaza “development” to Inland? (Diversified looked at buying the property but from what I understand from UH Mayor Rothschild, DD passed.) I bet SW did know because the cracks in these planks didn’t just begin in the last few years – you can prove that the cracks where there almost from the time the garage was constructed because of the corrosion and efflorescence stains which have developed as water has leached through the cracks. The cracks in the planks may have been one reason SW wanted to sell! And, if we take Mr. Simon at his word in the DD report, the planks were cracking from the time the garage was built.
Will property insurance cover the engineer’s design flaws? I don’t think so because most property insurance is payable only on sudden catastrophic damage – not design – caused damage.
The DD reporter never mentions that the garage is owned by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority. So, then the next question is, why would inland be paying for repairs to the garage if Inland doesn’t own the garage? Unless there is a maintenance/operational agreement between the Port Authority (PA) and Inland making Inland contractually obligated to cover the extraordinary maintenance costs of replacing the failed planks, then the PA will be responsible for paying the cost of the repairs/replacement.
If I were on the Port Authority, I would immediately file claim against everyone involved with the building of the garage – because many states have a statute of limitations on how many years can elapse before there is a bar to filinga a claim against the builder/developer/architect/engineer.
If I were on the PA I would attempt to go after any errors and omissions insurance that Engineer Simon, the Architect, local licensed engineers, or Suffolk, or Starwood Wasserman, or Wasserman’s attorney Dennis Wilcox may have had at the time the garage was designed and constructed. I would make claims against Starwood Wasserman and SW attorney Dennis H.Wilcox – because Wilcox was working for SW while Wilcox also had the Cuyahoga Cleveland Port Authority as a client. That is clearly a conflict of interest and an ethical violation for an attorney.
If I worked for the PA I would investigate to find out who was responsible for “selling” the parking garage to the County and make a claim against that person or entity as well. The County had no business “buying” and owning a parking structure the use of which was exclusively for one mall owner.
I don’t believe the pre-cast supplier was at fault - though I have not seen the pre-cast engineering drawings and do not know if the pre-cast supplier did or did not follow the reinforcement design precisely.
Now there is another interesting question: Why would SW “pay” Inland for several years for empty spaces at UHP? Inland bought the UHP from SW about two years ago and then SW continued to “pay” inland for empty space in the development.
One reason SW would “pay” inland is to provide a fraudulent “income” stream to Inland so that Inland would be better able to obtain financing for the purchase of the property. Could a bank be so stupid and willfully corrupt that they wouldn’t even send out someone to visually confirm who the tenants were in the property? Probably. The Ohio Attorney General (when he gets out of bed) should investigate.
Another possible reason that SW would continue to “pay” Inland for empty space is because SW may have had an ownership interest in another nearby competing mall and was hoping to lease up remaining space in the competing mall without competing with US.
I don’t know if SW was involved in leasing/owning any other geographically close mall property. Anyone know the answer?
This is the 5th in a series of Realneo posts about the University Square parking structure. Four are Buster posts, one is a Roulet post. Check them out if you're interested.
I will write about the tax increment financing deal that University Heights ignorantly entered into with the developer soon. The DD doesn't have that tax deal explained correctly either.
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