Wind topples stairwell at downtown apartment site

Matthew Lane • May 10, 2018 at 5:30 PM

KINGSPORT — One of the stairwell towers at the downtown apartment construction site on Sullivan Street recently toppled to the ground.

According to Keith Bruner, the interim building official for the city, the accident took place last weekend. Heavy, straight-line winds blew through the Model City on Saturday and apparently wreaked a little havoc with the construction site.

The wind blew down a section of fence and some framing on the first floor of the one of the buildings and toppled most of a four-story, cinderblock stairwell located near Clinchfield Street.

No one was injured during the accident, Bruner said.

“When you get those straight-line winds, like we had with Hobby Lobby, when you get something that high and unbraced, if you get leverage it doesn’t take as much as you think (to knock something over),” Bruner said.

One of the inspectors within the city’s building department happened to notice the fallen tower earlier this week and spoke to workers on the site.

Southern Building Group of Murfreesboro, Tenn., is performing the work.

Bruner said his department took note of the accident and checked to see if there was any serious damage.

“To see if it cracked the slab or the footers. According to (our inspector) there was no sign of that,” Bruner said.

Crossgate Partners of Suwanee, Ga., is building the $32 million, four-story apartment complex on the property, once known as Supermarket Row. The development — called Town Park Lofts — will include 263 units, a resort-style pool, clubhouse, fitness center and secure access.

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