Cadence acquired The Broadmoore four years ago (Image: King County)
When the property managers at a First Hill apartment building recently began drilling holes in the walls to install a new heating system, resident Eric Stapelman was immediately alarmed.
Worried that the dust flying around contained asbestos, the chef-owner of E Pine’s Shibumi called the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to have the Terry and Jefferson building tested. Initial results found asbestos levels in remnants from drilling were two times the allowed limit, according to the agency’s report obtained by CHS. The agency ordered Cadence Real Estate to stop the work.
Cadence acquired the 1911-built building in 2011 for $5.1 million, according to county records. The company has acquired property across the area including E Pike’s The Winston which it acquired for $4.3 million in late 2011.
While a second round of testing with more precise instruments found levels were not actually harmful, a PSCAA spokesperson told CHS the stop work order at The Broadmore will stay until Cadence hires an asbestos contractor to do another round of testing. Candence did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
In the meantime, Cadence put up plastic containment areas in some units where work remains unfinished. “The fact that they’re having people live in the apartments and not offering them a place to go… they’re turning people’s lives upside down,” Stapelman said.
UPDATE (3/20): In an email to CHS, Cadence principal Barrett Johnston said the company has been working with tenants to get the new heating system installed as fast as possible.
I have my EPA RRP certification for lead paint abatement, and we test for this prior to working in units as well. We have spoken with the PSCAA and EPA and have done what they have asked of us. It is unfortunate that we attempted to do everything required of us, and keep the residents safe from any potential hazardous substances, but are still being seen as trying to do things improperly.
By its nature construction is invasive and can be a burden for people living in a work area and we are aware of this and try to make the living environment as comfortable for people as possible. Unfortunately the continued blocking has caused the project to be delayed and some tenants are living in spaces with dust screening still up and no progress being made.
Cadence will also be required to obtain a construction permit from the agency, which it failed to do prior to starting work. Nearly all apartment building owners are required to get a permit from the PSCAA if they are doing significant work inside their buildings.
Once the final round of testing is complete and Cadence performs any necessary asbestos abatement work, the PSCAA spokesperson said the agency would issue a permit which would allow work to continue.
According to PSCAA, a property management company should be able to confirm if its secured the proper clean air permits to do work inside a building. If you’re unsure, contact the agency here.
Stapelman told CHS Cadence has refused his request for the company to pay for a temporary relocation while the work gets completed. He said he will be moving out as soon as he can. “This should not have happened,” he said.