“Not Invented To Withstand Tornadoes”: Officials, Experts Focus On Building Warehouses Amazon | Local company
The warehouse was constructed in what is known in the industry as a “tilting” construction, where steel reinforced concrete walls are cast flat and raised into position. But such walls, if not strongly connected to the roofs, can fall, dropping tens of thousands of pounds on the occupants inside, said Grace Yan, a professor of structural engineering at the University of the Science and Technology of Missouri at Rolla. And while they can be reinforced to better withstand tornadoes, it’s not required in building codes.
“Tilting buildings were not invented to withstand tornadoes,” Yan said.
Yan said the 2011 tornado that hit Joplin, southwest Missouri, killed seven people at a Home Depot when the 100,000-pound panel walls collapsed.
Amazon leases the warehouse at 3077 Gateway Commerce Center Drive South, developed in 2018 by TriStar Properties, based in Creve Coeur and built by Contegra Construction Co. of Edwardsville. It was expanded to 1.1 million square feet in July 2020. San Diego-based Realty Income Corp. has owned it since late 2020, when it paid $ 41.5 million for it, according to the reports. Madison County records.
Realty Income did not respond to a request for comment. A TriStar spokesperson referred questions to Contegra, who referred questions to Amazon. Contegra founder and managing member Eric Gowin said in a statement the company was “deeply saddened” by Friday’s events.