Building department officials in San Francisco have come under fire for failing to notify prospective homeowners of the shaky foundation of the Millennium Tower, a sinking condominium high rise located in San Francisco’s downtown South of Market district, SFGate reports.
Millennium Tower, the tallest residential building in the city at 58 stories, and home to over 400 residents was reported to be “sinking and tilting” last month.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin questioned the lack of evidence showing why the city allowed the tower’s builder, Millennium Partners, to construct the building 80 feet down into a landfill, rather than 200 feet down into bedrock, as is standard procedure.
The structure’s unusual foundation is likely the cause for it is sinking.
To date, Millennium Tower has tilted 2 inches and sunk a total of 16 inches, and geotechnical engineer Patrick Shires warned that the tower could still sink another 8 to 15 inches into the landfill it rests on.
Peskin said at a news conference Tuesday in City Hall, “We are going to get to the bottom of how this happened.”
He added that people had “arguably been defrauded” into purchasing the pricey homes in the high rise.
Peskin and his team reviewed more than 1,600 documents from the Department of Building Inspection, including one particularly damning one that seems to show city inspection officials being aware of the problem early on. In the document, Raymond Lui, who was the building department’s deputy director for plan review services at the time, raised troubling questions about the building.
“What are the actual settlements now? What is the rate of settlements? Are the settlements still continuing?” Lui asked, according to SFGate.
“The real issue for me is that [the sinking] hasn’t slowed down,” Jerry Dodson, a patent lawyer and building resident, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Residents of the building are also upset that Millennium Partners waited so long to tell them about the problem – they were notified June 2015, a full six years after the building had been constructed and Millennium Partners was made aware of the problem, according to The Chronicle.