North-Facing Wall in Apple Store Construction Site Falls Against Adjacent Building

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Following days of heavy rain softening ground soil at the new Apple retail store construction site on Fourth Street, the structure's north-facing wall sunk into the ground last week and fell against the adjacent building, causing structural damage to the property.

At around 9:50 a.m. Feb. 22, helical anchors - architectural features that hold up and stabilize walls during construction - failed, causing the building's northside wall to sink approximately four feet into the ground, pulling with it the perpendicular east-facing wall, according to Joan MacQuarrie, a building official in the building and safety division of the city's planning department.

Denny Abrams and Richard Millikan, developers and owners of several properties on Fourth, own the building adjacent to the new Apple retail store construction site. The building, whose southern end houses Builders Booksource on the first floor and Another Planet Entertainment on the second floor, suffered structural damage on the upper level.

Abrams and Millikan declined to comment.

George and Sally Kiskaddon, partners with Builders Booksource, were in their store when they heard the extremely loud crash from the wall, they said.

Walking out of their back door, Sally Kiskaddon said she saw the upper edge of the wall of the new Apple retail store "butting" against the adjacent wall of the building owned by Abrams and Millikan.

"The base of the wall slid away from our wall," George Kiskaddon said, adding that the movement of one wall triggered that of the other. "The top of the wall dropped down and banged into the space upstairs. It all moved like one big monolithic structure."

Dickinson Cameron Construction workers had been working on the property when the wall sank into the ground, according to George Kiskaddon.

"They were excavating and moving soil," he said. "(They were) digging the trenches for the new foundation because they want to add a second story."

The San Diego-based construction firm lists the 1823 Fourth St. location as a project on their client project list. A representative of Dickinson Cameron would not comment on the incident.

A representative from MBH Architects, the Alameda-based architecture firm who filed the building permit for the 1823 Fourth St. location, said architects could not comment on the issue because of the firm's affiliation with Apple.

The building has been red tagged and owners are not to return to their stores until the site's contractors, Dickinson Cameron Construction, install some sort of bracing to take the weight and load off of the building owned by Abrams and Millikan, according to George Kiskaddon.

"(The) engineers have to submit a revised plan showing how they're going to deal with the problems that have been created by the wall failing," MacQuarrie said. "A building permit might be required for Builders Booksource to be fixed."


Jessica Gillotte is the lead business reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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