In the News

HOA Sues Developer for Sinking Community

By KRISTIN J. BENDER

SAN FRANCISCO — A homeowners association representing property owners at a downtown San Francisco high-rise sued the developers on Wednesday for failing to tell residents the condominium tower was sinking at an unexpected rate.

The Millennium Tower homeowners association’s lawsuit is the latest suit filed in a high-profile dispute over the sinking building that opened in 2009. Lawsuits involve the developer, the city and owners of the multimillion-dollar condos.in-the-news

But Daniel M. Petrocelli, the lead attorney representing the homeowners association, says California law gives homeowner associations sole authority to pursue damages for structural repairs and retrofits. So he says a fix can only be accomplished through the HOA’s lawsuit.

“This is the only case that secures all the money it will take to fix the building and fix it once and for all,” said Petrocelli.

The high-rise that opened its doors in 2009 has been dubbed the Leaning Tower of San Francisco. It has sunk about 16 inches into landfill and is tilting several inches to the northwest. The sinking has been uneven, creating a 2-inch tilt at the base and a roughly 6-inch lean at the top.

A dispute over the building’s construction in the seismically active city has spurred numerous lawsuits involving the developer, the city and owners of its multimillion dollar condos.

Wednesday’s suit comes just a few months after a group of 20 homeowners at the 58-story condominium tower sued developer Millennium Partners and multiple city agencies, alleging that both the builder and public officials knew about, but failed to disclose to buyers, evidence that the luxury high rise was sinking at an unexpected rate.

The claim was filed against developer Millennium Partners, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, the city attorney and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

“We are disappointed and puzzled that the HOA board now is shifting gears to a disruptive strategy that leaves us no choice but to defend ourselves against false claims. The factual allegations in the Complaint are false, and we look forward to refuting them,” said P.J. Johnston, a spokesman for Millennium Partners.

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