Nature

Tower in Texas that Survived Strong Tornado, Now Being Turned into Residential Apartments

The Metro Tower structure in Lubbock, Texas, has endured the test of time, as well as a direct strike by a tornado with speeds of up to 200 mph. It’s currently receiving a $25 million rehabilitation to house approximately 90 affordable housing apartments on the lower levels and luxury apartment units on the higher floors, about 50 years after the storm.

Becoming an Apartment

Metro Tower, Lubbock

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

On May 11, 1970, a storm rumbled into the region, causing the sky to darken and the wind to ramp up, creating two tornadoes. The first caused minor damage, while the second ripped through the city after nightfall, killing almost 20 people. According to the National Weather Service, 600 apartment units and 430 homes had been damaged by morning. A total of 250 enterprises had their structures damaged or destroyed. The city’s Guadalupe neighborhood has been nearly entirely devastated.

Surviving Extreme Weather Events

The storm struck the Metro Tower directly, twisting the superstructure of the 271-foot-tall edifice.

“The structural building system was set up in such a way that on the north side where there’s a stairwell, it’s stiff,” Dr. Kishor Mehta, a civil engineering professor at Texas Tech University, told AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell. “And so when the wind came from the west and pushed it, it would twist more or deflect more on the south side as compared to the north side, and as a result, it twisted.”

According to Mehta, the building’s southern side has subsequently been reinforced and is “stronger today than it was before the storm,” according to Mehta.

Related Article: At Least 30 Million People are in Danger Due to Extreme Weather Outbreak

Examining the Damages

Mehta was one of the numerous civil engineers who examined the tornado’s damage. As a result of the storm, his work led to wind-load guidelines that architects and contractors could use to create safer structures.

Dr. Tetsuya Fujita, the meteorologist who in 1971 proposed a six-point system for assessing tornado damage, also flew down to inspect the devastation.

“He was looking from a meteorological standpoint, whereas we would be looking from an engineering standpoint,” Mehta explained.

Renovation Plans

“You really can’t tell that this building has been through what it has,” Alison Blalack of WestMark Commercial/TCN Worldwide Real Estate told Wadell. “Hopefully, folks from Lubbock know this building and appreciate its history.” Blalack assisted in selling the building to MRE Capital and its partner Structure Development from telecommunications operator NTS Communications.

Because of its historical significance, restorations will not be permitted to make some changes, such as modifying the outside look. Much of the interior, from the flooring to the postal chute that runs from the first to the twentieth level, will be preserved.

“You’ll see some modern enhancements in the efficiency and flats,” Blalack said, “but you’ll also see some of the historical materials that were used and things that were original to the structure.”

“There are so many possibilities for these unoccupied buildings that have been devastated by storms,” Blalack remarked. “There are so many resources available to assist in getting them refurbished and back into full operation, and I hope that others would make use of them.”

Also Read: [VIDEO] Birth of Bolt: Footage Shows 0.0003 Second Before Lightning Strikes

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