On Monday, a crane partially collapsed at a construction site in Midtown Atlanta, causing damage to a 26-story condominium complex and injuring four workers. The incident also displaced nearly 1,000 residents from their apartments and closed off several streets in the area. While the cause of the crane failure is still under investigation by OSHA, the impact of the accident goes beyond the physical damage and injuries. In this article, we will explore some of the hidden costs of the Midtown Atlanta crane collapse that may not be obvious at first glance.
One of the obvious costs of the crane collapse is the economic losses incurred by the developer, Portman Holdings, and the contractor, Brasfield & Gorrie. The crane was part of a $210 million project to build a luxury condominium tower called 1105 West Peachtree. The project was expected to be completed by late 2023 or early 2024, but the crane collapse will likely delay the completion date and increase the construction costs.
According to an industry expert, repairing or replacing a damaged crane can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million. Additionally, the developer and contractor may face legal claims from the injured workers, the displaced residents, and the owners of the damaged property.
Another economic cost of the crane collapse is the loss of business revenue and productivity for the nearby establishments and workers. The accident occurred in a busy commercial area of Midtown Atlanta, where many restaurants, shops, offices, and hotels are located. The street closures and evacuations disrupted the normal operations of these businesses and forced many employees to work remotely or take time off.
According to a study by Georgia State University, Midtown Atlanta generates about $13 billion in annual economic output and supports more than 81,000 jobs. A prolonged disruption of this economic activity could have significant consequences for the local and regional economy.
Another hidden cost of the crane collapse is the social disruption caused by the displacement of nearly 1,000 residents from their homes. The residents of Ten West Apartment Complex, which stands adjacent to the damaged building, were evacuated and have not been cleared to return until the crane is secured.
Many of them had to find alternative accommodations with friends, family, or hotels. Some also had to deal with the loss or damage of their personal belongings and pets. The displacement also affected their daily routines, such as commuting, shopping, schooling, and socializing.
The crane collapse also disrupted the social fabric of Midtown Atlanta, which is known for its vibrant and diverse community. The area hosts many cultural events, festivals, concerts, and parades throughout the year. It is also home to many landmarks, such as Piedmont Park, Fox Theatre, High Museum of Art, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
The street closures and evacuations prevented many residents and visitors from accessing these amenities and enjoying the neighborhood’s atmosphere. Moreover, the crane collapse may have eroded some of the trust and confidence that people have in the safety and quality of Midtown Atlanta’s infrastructure and development.
A third hidden cost of the crane collapse is the environmental impact that it may have on Midtown Atlanta’s air quality and climate resilience. The crane was powered by a diesel engine that emits pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons.
These pollutants can contribute to smog formation, acid rain, respiratory problems, and global warming. The crane collapse may have released some of these pollutants into the air and increased the exposure of nearby residents and workers to harmful emissions.
The crane collapse may also have affected Midtown Atlanta’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and mitigate climate change. The area has been recognized as one of the most sustainable urban districts in the country by LEED for Cities.
It has implemented various initiatives to promote green building practices, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, water conservation, waste reduction, public transportation, bike lanes, and urban forestry. The crane collapse may have damaged some of these infrastructure elements and set back some of these initiatives.
The Midtown Atlanta crane collapse was a tragic accident that caused physical damage and injuries to people and property. However, it also had hidden costs that may not be apparent at first glance. These include economic losses for developers, contractors, businesses, workers; social disruptions for residents; visitors; environmental impacts on air quality; climate resilience. These costs are difficult to quantify but they are important to consider when assessing the full impact of the accident on Midtown Atlanta’s community.