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Homeowners claim their Millennium Tower units are now worthless

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Condo buyers try to chop millions off of their property valuations before the tax man cometh

Patricia Chang

There’s plenty to be mad about regarding the Millennium Tower snafu: City Hall is upset at building inspectors, the developers are mad at the Transbay project, and nobody is more mad than the homeowners, whose once choice condos have now by and large become a building full of albatrosses.

As part of a multi-front offensive, building residents have flooded the city with requests to reassess their property values before the tax man comes calling. In all, 163 of the building’s 419 units' residents have appealed. And it’s possible that more are on the way. (Those 163 are just the ones who squeezed in before the September 15 deadline.)

The city assessor’s office sent Curbed SF the spreadsheets of every appeal. Before the building’s sideways dealings became public knowledge, the condos were worth anywhere between a fairly conservative $563,000, all the way up to a soaring $12.5 million. The (mean) average of all of them was $2.3 million.

Note that this corner of the building has always looked this way.
Patricia Chang

In all, the city valued those 163 units at over $374 million plus. But now homeowners say that, thanks for the bad press and condition of the structure, their homes are actually worth only a combined total of $153 million and change, or an average of $939,519.

Xin Liu, owner of a Millennium Tower unit once valued at $12 million, now says it’s worth only $4 million. The Catherine Bauman and Laurence Kornfield Trust, which holds the deed on the most economically priced of the complaining units, says that rather than $563,000, it’s now worth a much more slender sum: $1.

In all, 34 more residents guesstimated that their homes are now worth a highly specific one or two dollars, and nine more provided the decidedly round sum of zero dollars. Strange, indeed. Some others devalued their homes by only a few hundred thousand, many chopped the old figures neatly in half or even in fifths, and some threw the whole thing out, with seemingly no rhyme or reason relative to the original values.

Of the appellants, one John Peterson reckons his home is worth the most, now eyeballing the place at just over a $6 million value, down from its presently assessed $7.6 million. Of course, it will be up to the city what these places are really worth. It would be surprising to see any of the one or no-figure appeals honored at the appellant’s value—but nothing ventured, nothing gained. (Or lost, in this case.)


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Note that this corner of the building has always looked this way.