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Ironworker stands tall to top off Raleigh skyline

Posted May 14, 2008

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— Walter "Mackey" McClure was on top of the world Wednesday after climbing down from the highest perch in Raleigh.

McClure stood atop the RBC Plaza downtown Wednesday morning to help guide the building’s spire into place as it was lowered by a nearby crane.

"I was the only one left, so I had to be the one up there," a grinning McClure said, noting another ironworker had backed out of spire duty.

Crews began rigging the 11,000-pound spire at 5:30 a.m. so the crane could haul it to the top of a metal pyramid on the building by 7 a.m.

"It was exhilarating," McClure said. "You're standing up there, (and) you're on top of the world. Nothing up there is higher than. You've got that piece coming in, (and it) gets you pumped up and ready to go."

With the pyramid and spire crowning the top of the RBC Plaza, the 33-story building is the tallest in Raleigh at 530 feet tall. The $100 million project is expected to open this fall, when it will house RBC Bank's U.S. headquarters and will feature other offices, retail space and high-rise condominiums.

McClure wore a safety harness as he stood on the metal pyramid, and he said he knew the dangers involved with installing the spire.

"The wind can come through and push it sideways and push against you. You've just got to hold on tight," he said. "(I had to) manhandle it into the hole, you know. We had to work it."

Still, he said he relished the experience and would do it again if he could.

"It ain't nothing. It's crazy. It's just fun. I like to do it," he said.


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  • jeffthompson May 15, 2008

    Trump has not pulled out of his project...go to trumpcharlotte.com

    Rlewis...I did not take it personal. I am a native of Raleigh and LOVE Raleigh...but they are at least 10 years behind Charlotte. Charlotte is the 2nd largest Banking city in the US and there is a tremendous amount of money and wealthy people in Charlotte. Charlotte is very progressive and becoming quite cosmopolitan. Charlotte already has 1 line of their Light Rail open and 3-4 more lines are in the plans...the are already working on the 2nd line now.

  • SheriffTruman May 15, 2008

    Well, considering that the comments above were actually ona different story, but WRAL "updated" it with all new info, no one actually saw teh story or quote these comments are attached to until now.

    Also, I love Charlotte and think they are making great progress. I was there for the NCAA Sweet sixteen this year and loved walking everywhere. However, Trump has pulled out of their project and I would guess that maybe half the proposed projects will get built due to the lending climate being so tough. Still, 8-10 large new buildings over a 5 year period is not too shabby.

  • anonymouse May 15, 2008

    i can't believe i saw 31 comments posted and not one person mentioned the guy's statement: "(I had to) manhandle it into the hole, you know. We had to work it."

    i'm sorry but that is just funny. juvenile of me? yes...but funny still.

  • rmgirl May 14, 2008

    That was awesome.

  • cecillll May 14, 2008

    Ice cream man... all the condos in that building have been sold for about a year now. No propaganda or sales necessary there.

  • RedMan84 May 14, 2008

    Makes me happy to see a Dawg fan doing the job!

  • 3forme May 14, 2008

    who really cares..i really love the country areas...a little fresh air and some veggies you raised yourself..better get ready we may be headed back that way...whats gonna happen to your ivory towers then...hope we don't have to find out

  • rlewis May 14, 2008

    jeffthompson--No offense intended. And I agree that Charlotte has some scenic views. I just think it lacks any kind of uniqueness or culture that appeals to me. I also think there's an effort on the part of many of Charlotte's residents to put up this front that they are so much more metropolitan than they really are. I get a kick out of seeing these types... shirt about 5 sizes too small, gelled-up hair, talking about how important they are at their bank job, etc.

    Please note that I'm not implying this is how you are. I'm just admitting that my point of view may be skewed and I'm explaining why.

  • disco2drivin May 14, 2008

    'Why do you all (except armynavyseabee) think that we need gigantic buildings to show that we are moving along with the times. Why is copying all other big cities a sign of moving up?'

    Because building vertically is an efficient use of land. Just think of the footprint that would be impacted if each condo resident bought a detached home and each company & retailer occupied a one story building. Also, centralizing people means less driving to and fro.

  • vaulter May 14, 2008

    Why do you all (except armynavyseabee) think that we need gigantic buildings to show that we are moving along with the times. Why is copying all other big cities a sign of moving up? I think we should be original and come up with other ways to build the best city in the nation other than building tall, ugly pieces of steel and block. And who says we have to get bigger to advance? I think that is a crock. I agree with armynavyseabee about improving what all is here, especially all the rundown neighborhoods in south, east, and southeast raleigh AND it's inhabitants...