Pioneer Square building to be demolished before tunnel drilling

Pioneer Square building to be demolished before tunnel drilling

Pioneer Square building to be demolished before tunnel drilling

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 10, 2011 at 6:40 PM

SEATTLE -- More than 100 artists and a non-profit group who call a historic Pioneer Square building home received bad news Monday.

The Washington State Department of Transportation elected to demolish 619 Western instead of retro-fit it before drilling for the downtown tunnel project begins.

The building was once a six-story warehouse and built in 1910. Plans for the deep bore Highway 99 tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct have it going directly under the building.

Large cracks were found in the building's foundation, and WSDOT engineers decided the structural integrity of the building would not be able to withstand the shifting soil when the drilling begins.

"It is the problem child, it's 100 years old, not much has been done with it since the day it was been built," Ron Paananen, administrator for the tunnel project said last month. "It's gone through three earthquakes and it's in pretty poor condition as it sits."

Tenants must be out of the building by March, 2012. WSDOT says the plan to help the tenants relocate.

KING 5's Owen Lei contributed to this report.

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