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Uptown Charlotte building evacuated after shaking; air handler malfunction blamed

By Andrew Dunn and David Perlmutt
adunn@charlotteobserver.com
building
Andrew Dunn - adunn@charlotteobserver.com
Workers file back in to 200 South Tryon after the building received the all-clear.

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An uptown building was cleared briefly Tuesday morning after a problem with an air handler system on the roof caused the building to shake.

The incident happened in the building at 200 S. Tryon Street, which is home to several businesses including McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant and Charlotte Center City Partners.

Michael Smith, president and CEO of Center City Partners, said he and co-workers felt a heavy vibration for a "sustained 10 minutes" and he ordered everyone out of the building.

"It was a heavy vibration, uninterrupted," said Smith, whose office is on the 16th floor of the building. "We could look out the window and see the windows of three other buildings vibrating too. I was raised on the East Coast and don't have a lot of experience with earthquakes – so we don't know what's going on."

There were no reports of seismic activity on the East Coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Smith said the vibrations seemed to be contained to that area of South Tryon. "When we got out and down to the corner of 230 South Tryon, it did not experience the same vibrations."

Firefighters and other emergency crews responded to the scene. But the building’s occupants were allowed to re-enter shortly after 11 a.m.

Ely Portillo contributed

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