Scaffolding next to a large cracked beam on the outside of Ocean Tower in South Padre Island, Texas.

Ocean Tower Failure Analysis

Using computer modeling analysis to predict future safety risks.

Project Facts

Location South Padre Island, Texas
Owner Coastal Constructors Southwest Ventures
Status Completed


The Ocean Tower condominiums building was expected to be the highest structure of luxury living in the Rio Grande, but instead, it was dubbed the “leaning tower of South Padre” because parts of it sunk almost 16 inches, cracking beams and columns. To assess the damage and stability of the building, Walter P Moore took part in a forensic investigation to help determine the future of the structure.

About the project

When Ocean Tower started to lean and show cracked beams, the ownership team investigated the safety and structural integrity of the building. They found that the building sank over a foot deep into the foundation, causing increasing levels of damage to the structural system due to load redistribution and the overload of structural elements. 

Construction ceased immediately because of the public safety risk and potential for partial collapse. A more thorough forensic investigation began, where Walter P Moore performed a detailed evaluation using computer modeling to analyze the causation of failure as well as predict the future failure of structural elements. 

Based on the investigation findings, the tower was imploded before construction was complete.