Sinking Millennium Tower Cited for Fire Hazards

The leaning, sinking, stinking Millennium Tower is also a firetrap, the Department of Building Inspection concludes.

Dan Chambers, SF Examiner

Troubled luxury condo development Millennium Tower’s units are priced at $2 million each, despite that the building is leaning by 14 inches, has sunk by 17 inches, and the condos are reportedly affected by bizarre recurring chemical and food odors. But you can add another major problem to the Millennium Tower’s real estate reality check, as the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection has issued a violation notice of fire safety after discovering that the tower’s leaning is creating firetrap conditions.

NBC Bay Area reports that citation was issued on Dec. 20, about a week after SF Weekly reported the discovery of fire hazards at the Millennium Tower. The city’s building inspectors found that “a breach in the fire and smoke barrier has been represented,” that a high-level consultant “cites shifting of the curtain wall panels” and “suggests the issue may be more widespread.”

In plain English, the outer facade of the building is separating from the structure, creating gaps through which a small fire in one unit could quickly spread to other units. This violation was only issued upon inspection of one unit in the building, but the issue clearly affects other units — and could even affect the entire 58-story building.

The building sits in Sup. Aaron Peskin’s District 3. “I wish the city would take it a little more seriously, and be more aggressive about it,’’ Peskin told NBC Bay Area, “But all and all, they are finally – only because of media attention – paying attention to the issue and they finally issued a notice of violation.”

Millennium Tower’s developers, Millennium Partners, had discovered the gaps were a fire safety risk when they commissioned a December 2016 report from Palo Alto architectural engineering firm Allana Buick & Bers. But the sections describing the fire risks were redacted from the version of that report provided to condo owners.

The notice of violation does not come with a fine or any direct monetary consequences for Millennium Partners. Instead, Millennium Partners must either fix the problem (which would cost them money, obviously) or get a second opinion testifying that the gaps are not the fire hazard which the Department of Building Inspection has concluded that they are.

You can take a wild guess which of those avenues Millennium Partners will likely pursue. The developer has until Jan. 19 to respond to the violation notice.   

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