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Millennium Tower investigation begins

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San Francisco supervisor alleges city may have looked the other way on building flaws

Photo by Patricia Chang

Who’s to blame for the Millennium Tower’s turn from tony tenement to towering travesty?

Millennium Partners point the finger at the nearby Transbay Center construction, which they say unsettled the moorings of their building. Some tenants are insisting that the buck stops with the partners too in the form of a lawsuit (probably not the last to be filed before this matter, like the contentious building itself, is settled).

The one interested party that hasn’t yet piped up is San Francisco City Hall, but that was only a matter of time. This morning, Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes both the tower and the Transbay site, and Supervisor Aaron Peskin, whose district sits far to the north but who has taken an interest anyway, announced an inquiry and a hearing on September 22. Subpoenas are already underway.

According to those who made this morning’s press conference, Peskin says that worries about the building’s stability date back to 2009. He even alleged "some level of political interference" to protect the multi-million dollar development, which wrapped up at a time when local real estate was otherwise in the dumps.

The building’s slow descent didn’t go unnoticed prior to the August 1 San Francisco Chronicle headline that turned the its name into a byword for poor planning.

Realtors would hint to Curbed SF editors that something funny was going on with the high-rise, and former tenants have commented that the Millennium’s infrastructure problems engendered constant headaches.

Similar comments almost certainly drifted down the corridors of power as well, but that they were evidently ignored for years doesn’t necessarily suggest wrongdoing. Nor do the city lawmakers, who are careful to hedge that there only might be something fishy about the chronic inaction.

After all, finding out with certainty is the reason you put together an investigation in the first place.