Luxury Seattle apartment plagued with pipe problems, tenants displaced

A luxury apartment building in Seattle’s South Lake Union that’s been open just five years is undergoing major repairs.

“It’s seriously like a livable construction site,” said Scott Peterson, a resident at the Via6 Apartments.

Now some tenants say the repairs – related to pipe problems – are forcing them out of their homes.

People who live there say the problems with flooding, halting water, and construction have been going on for more than a year.

Some say their neighbors have moved out because of all the trouble.

“Not good, not good,” said Brendan Colon, who lives at the building.

“The feeling is not good,” said Krishna Golusu, another resident.

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And that seems to be a common thread on what residents at Via6 are feeling.

The high-rise apartment right next to the Amazon Spheres has 654 units. And the Bentall Kennedy Group, a company that speaks for the apartment, says every unit is impacted on some level by the pipe trouble that has plagued the building.

“They’ve been having issues for the past year or so,” Colon said.

“We woke up one morning and they never told us the water was going to be shut off and bam, no one could take showers,” said Scott Peterson, another Via6 resident.

Nicole, who didn’t want to share her last name, says she pays $2,200 a month for a studio with a view.

And starting next week she won’t be able to access her home during business hours.

“They gave a small rent concession and we have to be out from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for when they’re doing construction in our units,” Nicole said. “It’s frustrating, but they’re trying to mitigate it.”

Via6 tells KIRO7 it's covered costs for people and pets who need to be relocated, including some hotel costs, hired security to monitor people's homes during repair, and holds regular food and entertainment events during the repair period "as a token of our gratitude to the residents for their patience and accommodation," it said in a statement. 
The building was built in 2013 and the problems started in 2017.

“It’s a pretty extensive thing to gut the water system,” Colon said.

“They were faulty pipes,” Nicole said. “They had to do the main trunk pipes in each tower.”

The company that owns Via6 is “The Sixth & Lenora Apartments LLC” and it’s suing the companies that manufactured, sold and installed the pipes – including Aquatherm, Ridgeline Mechanical Sales, and Harrington Industrial Plastics.

The complaint says Via6, “experienced and continues to experience physical damage, harm, risk of harm, unsafe conditions, sudden and dangerous failures in its pressurized domestic water, plumbing system, and other damages.”

The apartments also accuse the defendants of “intentional misrepresentations,” saying they falsely represented the pipe as: “reliable,” “high performance and long lasting,” and would “last for the life of the building.”

Some residents wonder if the skyrocketing construction downtown has led to compromised quality.

“I’ve built homes all my life and I’ve never had to go back and change pipes so it shows the city is booming with construction workers right now,” Peterson said. “The quality of building around here has gone down the drain.”

Some tenants have moved out, but the tenants still at Via6 say they just want it to be over.

“Hopefully they’ll fix the issue soon,” Golusu said.

The Bentall Kennedy Group says repair work is ¾ of the way done and "the balance of the building repairs completed by early next year." 
KIRO7 reached out to Aquatherm via phone and email but did not hear back. If we do, we'll update this story.