Millennium Tower (San Francisco)
Location within San Francisco
|Location||301 Mission Street
San Francisco, California
|Opening||April 23, 2009|
|Owner||Mission Street Development, LLC|
|Antenna spire||645 ft (197 m)|
|Roof||605 ft (184 m)|
|Top floor||592 ft (180 m)|
|Floor area||1,151,017 sq ft (106,933.0 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Structural engineer||DeSimone Consulting Engineers|
|Main contractor||Webcor Builders|
|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. A mixed-use, primarily residential structure, it is the tallest residential building in San Francisco.
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, is listed as the 60th, because floors 13 and 44 are missing for superstitious reasons.
In 2016, the building was found to be both sinking and tilting. 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. It was also the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River when finished (later surpassed by The Austonian in Texas). The tower is slender, with each floor containing 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2) of floor space. In addition to the 58-story tower, there is a 125 ft (38 m), 11-story tower on the northeast end of the complex. 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. 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. Below street level, there are 434 parking spaces in a five-level subterranean garage located under the 11-story tower. 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.
Millennium Partners first proposed the development in 2002 with 163 condominiums, 108 rentals and a 136-unit "extended stay" hotel rooms. 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.
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.
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.
Sinking and tilting problem
In 2016, the public was notified that the building was sinking and tilting. 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. 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. The building is leaning toward the northwest. Millennium Partners blames the sinking problem on the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) and their nearby construction. However, the sinking problem had reportedly started before the Transbay construction even broke ground. The building's homeowners association, represented by attorney David Casselman, is suing the builder Webcor, Millennium Partners, and the TJPA. Another group of tenants, led by patent litigator Jerry Dodson, is suing Millennium Partners, the City of San Francisco, and the TJPA.
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. Mission Street Developers rejected the city's claims.
Sage Engineers has been hired by Millennium Partners to provide an engineering study on the sinking problem. 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. If the TJPA is found to be at fault, San Francisco taxpayers could end up paying for the repairs.
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.
The building has garnered several awards from several engineering and architectural organisations.
- 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
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