Here’s a little drive-by tour with expert commentary on the lost and leaning Ocean Tower on South Padre Island, slated for implosion this Sunday at 9 a.m. The condo tower has supposed to have 31 levels, but accumulated many more stories: Construction was halted last year after one side of the building sunk more than 14 inches into the sand.
Three months after topping out the tower last spring, developer Antun Domit sent a letter to buyers noting that a problem of “differential settlement” had occurred:
Unfortunately, there is a layer or stratum of which the engineers tell us is “expandable clay”, meaning that it is a clay stratum that compresses [when] weight is placed upon it. Although our foundation is engineered to a depth above that stratum, the weight pressing on the stratum has caused sinking of the building on it.
But there’s a fix for that!
* * *
Contractors could separate the main tower from the parking garage, Domit wrote, adding additional support to the foundation. But:
This creates both a construction issue and a safety issue. Until the differential settling is corrected, if workers are too near a column when it cracks, physical injury could result. In addition, in the unlikely event of a total failure, workers and neighboring structures could be catastrophically affected. For this reason, all work has ceased on the tower, and a complete shoring (the bracing of columns) project is being scheduled. . . .
Despite trick photography in the newspapers, this is not “the Leaning Tower of Padre”.
In response, South Padre Realtor Alice Donahue updated her website with these words of encouragement:
very good news for the Ocean Tower project – the building will be safer and stronger than ever, just delayed . . .
We see this as a great opportunity to get a bargain right now on what will become the finest quality built tower - in the best location – on South Padre Island. The views and amenities are unmatched, and the units are the some of the largest on the Island. Make your offer contingent on the problem being fixed, the building permit issued and as always – get legal advice.
A rare opportunity to take advantage of the insurance and investment companies losses and their desire to regain momentum. . . .
And even if the worse was to be, and they had to start over, how many buildings of this magnitude get a second shot? What they learned from 1st try, would prove invaluable for the re-build.
Want a few lingering last views of the tower, before it’s blasted into little bits?
- Lonnie says “Da damn thang is leanin’ [YouTube]
- Record concrete building implosion set for Sunday at South Padre [Houston Chronicle]
- To All Purchasers with Pre-Development Contracts on Condominiums at Ocean Towers (PDF) [Ocean Towers]
- Ocean Tower South Padre Shifting in the Sand [AliceDonahue.com]
- South Padre’s ‘leaning tower’ to be demolished [My San Antonio]
- Leaning Tower of Padre [Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis]
- Ocean Towers Condo Project to be demolished on South Padre [YouTube]