The Unusual Story Of The Skyscraper Slide Lawsuits

Whilst there are many different legal cases that commercial property solicitors take part in, one of the most unusual legal stories is the strange story of a glass slide on the side of a skyscraper and the injury lawsuits that ensued as a result.

The US Bank Tower was opened in 1989 and was until 2010 the tallest building in the world with a rooftop helipad, and because of its unusual shape became an iconic landmark of the city of Los Angeles.

In 2013, the tower was sold to Singapore-listed property developer OUE, who planned to convert the top floors of the commercial building into an observation deck with the aim of turning the building into a tourist attraction.

Known as OUE Skyspace, it had a lobby, exhibit hall and restaurant as its main amenities. However, in 2016, it also opened with an outdoor 45ft transparent glass side known as the Skyslide.

It was not a long ride but the view of the city over 1000ft below was dramatic and not one for the faint of heart.

Unfortunately, it took less than a month for problems to emerge due to the slide’s poor construction and inadequate measures to slow ridegoers on. One rider broke her ankle on the ride due to a gap between the crash mats and the end of the slide, potentially causing riders to get caught and injure themselves.

Another rider complained of back injuries, and a third person managed to cut her face on the rides.

It was never made clear what the results of these legal cases were, but OUE sold the tower to Larry Silverstein in 2020, who announced that the Skyspace and Skyslide would not reopen, citing complaints from office tenants about the tourist attraction.

The plan is to retain the restaurant, 71Above, but convert the remaining space into communal areas and office space.