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The balconies at Moda: You might not want to lean.
UPDATE: Moda's manager has filed criminal charges. Details after the jump.

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Sign of the Times: Belltown Condo Moda Has Its Balconies Repossessed

balcony5.JPG
The balconies at Moda: You might not want to lean.
UPDATE: Moda's manager has filed criminal charges. Details after the jump.

When our grandchildren open up their history books 40 years from now to see what the Great Recession looked like, what lasting images will they see? Detroit's frozen man? Las Vegas's foreclosed homes bus tour? Seattle's repossessed balconies?

Blogger Igor Keller from Hideous Belltown got a tip last week that some desperate sub-contractors had scaled 3rd Avenue's Moda apartment building on ladders, partially dismantled five balconies and then left with the recovered metal in the back of their truck. Keller's tipster said the men told him Moda had shorted them on their bill to the tune of $20,000. So Keller decided to take a look for himself, and came back with what may be the most hilarious, hazardous and epoch-defining pictures Recession-era Seattle has seen.

As you can see, the guys on ladders only managed to take part of each balcony. But what they did remove makes the balconies much less usable in some cases and downright dangerous in others.

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Keller's tipster said that each one of the apartments left with a balcony shell is occupied. Which led SunBreak to reason that some particularly brave Moda resident is in line to file a "spectacular personal injury lawsuit."

For his part, Keller manages a nuanced view of the situation that's notable for its sympathy towards both Moda residents and Moda management.

From the time I spent temping at a real estate management company, I came to realize that most buildings operate in near-permanent debt. They generally owe months and months of bills for power, water and the like. Why, my own lovely, ancient building gets a water shut-off notice nailed to its front door around twice a year. But this strange event is a different animal; it's the economic downturn asserting itself in new and weird ways. I wish the Moda the best of luck getting its balconies back. And no, I don't consider them deadbeats. They just failed to consider just how hungry their poor subcontractors were.
Like Keller, Daily Weekly tried to get Moda's response to the balcony repossessing. And just like Keller, we were also given a friendly "no comment."

If you, or anyone you know, lives in Moda, let us know what management said. And if any Belltown residents happen to notice the balconies getting put back together in the next couple weeks, let us know that too. And take pictures!

UPDATE: Moda has filed charges of criminal trespass and reckless endangerment against Brace Point Railing, the contractor who built and took down the balconies.

KOMO News reports that Brace Point wouldn't return calls. But material photographed at their warehouse looks similar to the metal used in the balcony railings.

Moda tenants said they found out about the missing balconies from a note left by Brace Point. The company claimed it had every right to take back its property.

 
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