SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Lawyers representing the sinking San Francisco Millennium Tower homeowners’ association announced a lawsuit against the developer and builders Wednesday.
The lawsuit names the developer, Millennium Partners, along with the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), the regional agency overseeing the building of the adjacent Transbay Transit Center. The suit also names the architectural, engineering, and general contractor firms involved in building the tower, but does not name the City of San Francisco.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of suits filed since last August when it was determined the 58-story tower at 301 Mission St. had already sunk 16 inches, as much as it was projected to sink over its lifetime.
Another lawsuit alleges Millennium Partners withheld information about the extent of the building’s settlement problems from homebuyers, and also names the TJPA, accusing it of improperly building on the adjacent property and contributing to the damage.
Despite the different lawsuits pending – including from individuals homeowners – the attorney for the tower HOA, Dan Petrocelli, says his client has the sole right to submit a lawsuit for damages and money required to permanently fix and retrofit the tower.
“To be clear, this is the only case that exists for the purpose of securing all the money that it will take to fix the building, and to fix it permanently,” said Petrocelli. “Whatever it takes, our goal is to make sure that the homeowners, many of whom invested their life savings to purchase homes in this building, get what they deserve.”
The tower has what’s called a “prescriptive design” which means it strictly follows current building codes without actually determining whether those will work. As a result, no study of the soil under the site was required.
Millennium Partners have said the allegations that the firm concealed information from homebuyers have no merit, and has blamed the settlement on excessive groundwater pumping at the neighboring Transbay Transit Center site, where work began in 2010.
The Transbay Joint Powers Authority has in turn blamed the building’s settlement on its design, which combines heavy concrete construction with a concrete slab foundation and piles that go into sand rather than down to bedrock.