Millennium Tower (San Francisco)

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Millennium Tower
Millennium tower and construction in SF 03.jpg
Millennium Tower (San Francisco) is located in San Francisco
Millennium Tower (San Francisco)
Millennium Tower (San Francisco) is located in California
Millennium Tower (San Francisco)
Millennium Tower (San Francisco) is located in the US
Millennium Tower (San Francisco)
Location within San Francisco
General information
Type Residential condominiums
Location 301 Mission Street
San Francisco, California
Coordinates 37°47′25″N 122°23′46″W / 37.7904°N 122.3961°W / 37.7904; -122.3961Coordinates: 37°47′25″N 122°23′46″W / 37.7904°N 122.3961°W / 37.7904; -122.3961
Construction started 2005
Completed 2009
Opening April 23, 2009
Cost US$350 million[1]
Owner Mission Street Development, LLC
Antenna spire 645 ft (197 m)
Roof 605 ft (184 m)
Top floor 592 ft (180 m)
Technical details
Floor count 58
Floor area 1,151,017 sq ft (106,933.0 m2)
Lifts/elevators 12
Design and construction
Architect Handel Architects
Developer Millennium Partners
Structural engineer DeSimone Consulting Engineers
Main contractor Webcor Builders
Other information
Number of units 419

Millennium Tower is a 58-story, 196.6 m (645 ft) condominium skyscraper completed in 2009 in the South of Market district in downtown San Francisco.[1] A mixed-use, primarily residential structure, it is the tallest residential building in San Francisco.[4]

The blue-gray glass, late-modernist tower is bounded by Mission, Fremont, and Beale Streets, and the north end of the Transbay Transit Center site. The building was opened to residents on April 23, 2009. Its highest level, 58 floors above the ground,[3][6][7] is listed as the 60th, because floors 13 and 44 are missing for superstitious reasons.[8]

In 2016, the building was found to be both sinking and tilting.[9] In November 2016, the city of San Francisco filed suit against the tower's developer Mission Street Developers LLC, claiming that the developers withheld information on the sinking problems from potential apartment buyers. Tenants received official disclosure of the structure issues in May 2016, a few months before the news went public.


The US$350 million project was developed by Millennium Partners of New York City, designed by Handel Architects, engineered by DeSimone Consulting Engineers and constructed by Webcor Builders. At 645 ft (197 m), it is the tallest concrete structure in San Francisco, the fourth tallest building in San Francisco overall, and the tallest since 345 California Street in 1986.[1][10][11] It was also the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River when finished (later surpassed by The Austonian in Texas).[12] The tower is slender, with each floor containing 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2) of floor space.[13] In addition to the 58-story tower, there is a 125 ft (38 m), 11-story tower on the northeast end of the complex.[10] Between the two towers is a 43 ft (13 m), two-story glass atrium. In total, the project has 419 units.

The residences are said to be the priciest on the West Coast, with the penthouse unit selling for US$13 million in December, 2016.[14][15] The bottom 25 floors of the main tower are called Residences while the floors from 26 to the top have the name Grand Residences. The 53 units in the separate 12-story tower are called the City Residences.[1] Below street level, there are 434 parking spaces in a five-level subterranean garage located under the 11-story tower.[10] The building is located next to the site of the future Transbay Transit Center. Overall, the tower's design is intended to resemble a translucent crystal, and is a landmark for the Transbay Redevelopment and the southern skyline of San Francisco.[13]

Millennium Tower is also home to RN74, a restaurant and wine bar under the direction of Chef Michael Mina, located on the ground floor.[16]


The Millennium Tower in August 2016

Millennium Partners first proposed the development in 2002 with 163 condominiums, 108 rentals and a 136-unit "extended stay" hotel rooms.[17] The project was approved in 2003 by the S.F. Planning Commission 4–1 and construction began in 2005. The only against vote came from Planning Commissioner Sue Lee.[10]

On September 6, 2010, Dan Goodwin, also known as SpiderDan and Skyscraperman, scaled the outside of the tower using suction cups. Following the climb, Goodwin was arrested by the San Francisco police, who charged him with trespassing and creating a public nuisance.[18]

In 2013, the building sold its final unit, generating US$750 million in total sales, a 25 percent return on the estimated US$600 million in development costs.[19]

Sinking and tilting problem[edit]

construction next to the tower

In 2016, the public was notified that the building was sinking and tilting.[9] The foundation of the structure is a concrete slab built on 60–90 feet (18-27m) deep concrete friction piles into mud fill and sand, which is a poor ground type for supporting large structures. A number of other buildings in this part of San Francisco required use of end-bearing piles, which load directly onto bedrock, rather than friction piles. If end-bearing piles were used for the Millennium Tower, they would have needed to be approximately 200 feet (60m) deep to bear onto bedrock, up to three times longer than the existing friction piling solution used.[20][21] An examination in 2016 showed the building had sunk 16 inches with a two-inch tilt at the base and an approximate six-inch tilt at the top of the tower.[22] The building is leaning toward the northwest.[22][23][24] Millennium Partners blames the sinking problem on the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) and their nearby construction.[22] However, the sinking problem had reportedly started before the Transbay construction even broke ground.[21] The building's homeowners association, represented by attorney David Casselman, is suing the builder Webcor, Millennium Partners, and the TJPA.[22] Another group of tenants, led by patent litigator Jerry Dodson, is suing Millennium Partners, the City of San Francisco, and the TJPA.[25][22]

In November 2016, the city of San Francisco filed suit against the tower's developer Mission Street Developers LLC, claiming that the developers withheld information on the sinking problems from potential apartment buyers.[26][27] Mission Street Developers rejected the city's claims.[28]

Sage Engineers has been hired by Millennium Partners to provide an engineering study on the sinking problem.[25] Some experts have prognosticated that the cost to fix the tilt could exceed the liability insurance held by Millennium Partners and the building's various construction vendors.[25] If the TJPA is found to be at fault, San Francisco taxpayers could end up paying for the repairs.[25]

As of 2017, a city inspection has found that the building is still safe to occupy, though there has been damage to the foundation and electrical system.[29]

In March 2017, the homeowners association filed suit against Millennium Partner, Webcor, Handel Architects, Treadwell & Rollo, Langan, DeSimone Consulting Engineers, Arup, and Transbay Joint Powers Authority. They are seeking $200 million to cover repairs and damages.[30]


Millennium Tower sign on the South facade

The building has garnered several awards from several engineering and architectural organisations.[31]

  • 2008: American Concrete Institute Awards, Northern California – Construction
  • 2008: Concrete Industry Board – Roger H. CIB Award of Merit
  • 2009: American Society of Civil Engineers, Region 9 – Structural Engineering Project of the Year
  • 2008: American Society of Civil Engineers, San Francisco Section – Outstanding Structural Engineering Project
  • 2009: Metal Architecture Magazine – April 2009 edition Top Honor
  • 2009: California Construction – Outstanding Project Management
  • 2009: California Construction – Multi-family/Residential, Award of Merit
  • 2010: San Francisco Business Times – Deal of the Year Award
  • 2010: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awards – Building San Francisco Award

Notable residents[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d J. K. Dineen (June 15, 2007). "Millennium Pours on Condos". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2010-01-21. (registration required)
  2. ^ "Millennium Tower". CTBUH Skyscraper Database. 
  3. ^ a b Millennium Tower (San Francisco) at Emporis
  4. ^ a b "Millennium Tower". SkyscraperPage. 
  5. ^ Millennium Tower (San Francisco) at Structurae
  6. ^ Roorda, Derrick D.; Rodrigues, Nicolas J. Design of the Tallest Reinforced Concrete Structure in California — A 58-Story Residential Tower in San Francisco. Structures Congress 2008: Crossing Borders. American Society of Civil Engineers. pp. 1–9. doi:10.1061/41016(314)85. 
  7. ^ Taranath, Bungale S. (2009). Reinforced concrete design of tall buildings. CRC Press. p. 768. ISBN 1-4398-0480-X. 
  8. ^ Dineen, J. K. (2010-03-28). "Millennium Tower soars to new heights". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2011-03-29. (registration required)
  9. ^ a b McPhate, Mike. "California Today: A Leaning Tower in San Francisco". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d Patrick Hoge (2003-08-01). "Planners approve 58-story Tower; 301 Mission St. would be S.F.'s 4th-Tallest". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  11. ^ "345 California Center". Emporis. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  12. ^ "Millennium Tower (San Francisco)". Enclos Corp. Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  13. ^ a b King, John (2003-12-21). "A chance to reach new heights / Towers could energize S.F. skyline". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  14. ^ Robinson, M. (2016-12-16). "A tech exec just bought the penthouse in San Francisco's sinking skyscraper for $13 million". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  15. ^ Temple, James (2008-02-16). "High-end home sales soar in Bay Area". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  16. ^ Damion Matthews (2009-05-25). "RN74 at the Millennium Tower". SFLUXE. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  17. ^ Adams, Gerald D. (May 18, 2002). "58-story skyscraper seeking S.F. approval / Proposal for city's fourth-highest tower". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ Bob Egelko; Kevin Fagan (September 7, 2010). "Man scales S.F. tower to publicize his message". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  19. ^ Dineen, J. K. (2013-04-05). "Millennium Tower in San Francisco is a $750M sellout". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  20. ^ Associated, Press. "Leaning San Francisco tower seen sinking from space". FOX News Network, LLC. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^ a b c d e Smiley, Lauren; Eskenazi, Joe (21 October 2016). "The Big Sink". San Francisco Magazine. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  23. ^ Gecker, Jocelyn (2016-10-24). "Tilting, Sinking San Francisco High-Rise Raises Alarm". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  24. ^ Phillip Matier; Andrew Ross (August 1, 2016). "SF's landmark tower for rich and famous is sinking and tilting". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-08-02. 
  25. ^ a b c d Tarmy, James; Mehrotra, Kartikay (1 February 2017). "Who Will Pay for San Francisco's $750 Million Tilting Tower?". Bloomberg Pursuits. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  26. ^ Dineen, J. K. "City attorney sues Millennium developer — says buyers duped". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  27. ^ Skinner, Curtis. "San Francisco city attorney sues developer of sinking luxury tower". Reuters. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  28. ^ Joseph Serna; Peter H. King (November 3, 2016). "San Francisco sues developer over sinking skyscraper". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  29. ^ Dineen, J. K. (27 January 2017). "Sinking Millennium Tower safe to live in, city report concludes". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  30. ^ "Millennium Tower San Francisco homeowners strike back with $200 million lawsuit". BuzzBuzzHome News. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  31. ^ Millennium Tower (San Francisco) at Structurae
  32. ^ Whiting, Sam (July 6, 2010). "Joe Montana finds empty nest in San Francisco". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  33. ^
  34. ^

External links[edit]