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Originally published December 19, 2011 at 8:16 PM | Page modified December 19, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Glass panel falls from 30th floor of The Bravern

A glass panel fell from a 30th-floor apartment balcony at The Bravern in Bellevue on Sunday and landed in tiny bits in a pet area below. No one was injured, city officials say.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes Lucky to have it happen on a SUNDAY and not today on a MONDAY when there is a larger... Read more
quotes I guess big block expects all 7 billion inhabitants of earth to live and work in single... Read more
quotes I'm always preferred steel walls/rails around my 30-story-high balconies. Read more

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A glass panel fell from a 30th-floor apartment balcony at The Bravern in Bellevue Sunday and landed in tiny bits in a pet area below. Nobody was injured, city officials say.

After breaking free on the 30th floor, the panel smashed into a 23rd-floor railing, which may have caused it to break into pieces.

The residential North Tower at The Bravern is the second recently built high rise in the Seattle area from which balcony railing glass has crashed to the ground.

In September, the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences near Seattle's Pike Place Market began replacing all of its balcony glass after panels fell from upper floors on three separate occasions.

It was not immediately clear what caused Sunday's 10 a.m. accident at the North Tower.

Dan Ivanoff, managing partner and CEO of Schnitzer West, the developer of The Bravern, said the company and its general contractor, PCL, have temporarily closed balconies on the east side of the building and have shut a lower rooftop plaza where people walk their pets. He said "a full investigation" is being conducted.

Ivanoff said small pieces of glass — like you might see when a car window is broken fell on the roof of next-door Meydenbauer Center and in a landscaped portion of the plaza that is frequented only by small pets. "The good news is there was no exposure to anybody getting hurt and nobody did get hurt," Ivanoff said.

"We're going to figure it out and get it fixed expeditiously," Ivanoff said. "Safety is paramount, and that's what we're going to do."

Doug Fox, Bellevue's inspection-services manager, said the 3-by-4-foot glass panel apparently fell as an intact sheet from the 30th floor, and shattered into small pieces when it hit the 23rd-floor balcony railing.

Although there have been reports of tempered-glass balcony-railing panels shattering spontaneously in other cities — blamed by some experts on nickel-sulfide crystal impurities — Fox said that didn't seem to be the case at The Bravern.

"The reason I say that is that someone observed the pane of glass tumbling, and it was pretty clear that where it struck the 23rd-floor guardrail, there was an impact to the rail, and granulated glass wouldn't have shown that level of impact," Fox said.

Ivanoff said Fox's conclusion was speculative and that he wasn't aware of any witnesses.

"It would be irresponsible speculation for us to say how big was the sheet of glass and how intact was it when it hit the 23d floor. What I can tell you is that long before it got to the ground it had broken into a number of small pieces, which is what it's designed to do," Ivanoff said.

The residential towers at The Bravern were built as condos but converted to apartments before the buildings opened last year in a dismal real-estate market.

The Bravern, at Northeast Eighth Street and 110th Avenue Northeast, also includes two Microsoft-leased office buildings that Schnitzer has sold to Principal Real Estate Investors.

The Bravern's shopping center features the Northwest's first Neiman Marcus, as well as Louis Vuitton, Brooks Brothers, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo and other high-end stores.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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