Back in 2002, Millennium Partners proposed the development of Millennium Tower, a new condominium complex at 301 Mission, essentially a 5-Star hotel without a hotel. This was soon after Millennium Partners launched its Four Seasons Hotel (the first combination hotel/condominium property in San Francisco at 757 Market Street). Four Seasons condominiums sold well after overcoming initial problems (arriving on the market around September 11, 2001).
Millennium Tower opened to residents in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2016 that residents were notified that there was a tilting and sinking problem. Oops! The developer naturally had to blame someone, right? So, they claimed that TJPA (Transbay Joint Powers Authority) was responsible for the sinking/tilting as a result of the “dewatering” at TJPA’s neighboring Transit Center site. It was claimed that the Center’s dewatering caused the land under the Millennium Tower property to be unstable. Litigation ensued, of course! BTW, the developer had installed a thick (14’) concrete slab to rest on bay mud sand down some 80 feet rather than driving piles 250 feet down to rest on bedrock.
And, we might note, none of the other three high rise buildings on the perimeter of the Transit Center sank or tilted despite being subject to the same excavation and dewatering at the Transit Center.
The litigation was settled in 2020. The tilting/sinking is now being fixed. The “fix” calls for installing 52 piles along the northern and western sides of the tower, reaching down some 250 feet into bedrock. It is estimated that about 50% of the tilt will be evened out over a period of 10 years as the southern and eastern sides of the building come back into alignment with the now sunken northern and western sides of the building. The fix will cost about $100 million. Notwithstanding the to do about tilting and sinking, Millennium Tower is one of the city’s best located and most prestigious high-rise condominium buildings with the amenities of a 5-Star hotel (again, minus the hotel). It is adjacent to the Salesforce Transit Center, where one can enjoy a 5+ acre park, transportation options, and other amenities.
PS: One of my pleasures, before the pandemic, was sitting on the north side of the park and eavesdropping on tourists chatting as to whether they could discern any tilting.
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