San Francisco's 'leaning tower' hit with violation notices

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Building inspectors allowed construction on the Millennium tower to proceed just as they denied a similar high rise project. (KGO-TV)

A 58-story luxury condominium that has gained notoriety as the leaning tower of San Francisco was hit with two violation notices accusing owners of making unauthorized repairs, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The repairs to two ramps and the underground garage were intended to address the problems caused by the building's sinking, but city building inspectors found they were done without permits, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The tower has sunk 16 inches since it was completed seven years ago. It's not, however, sinking evenly, creating a tilt.

The building's problems have raised concerns because it lies in an earthquake fault zone, but city officials, owners of the building's high-end apartments and its developers are arguing over who is to blame.

One violation notice stems from chipping concrete and leaking in the underground parking garage, and repairs that were done without permits, the Chronicle reported. The other relates to two ramps on the ground floor that building inspector Daniel Lowery said had become steeper during settlement and that the owner had tried to correct, also without a permit.

The Millennium Tower Homeowners Association, which owns the building, told the Chronicle it assumed that any necessary permits were being properly pursued by developer Millennium Partners.

P.J. Johnston, a spokesman for Millennium Partners, said the developer will work with the association to address issues like these that commonly arise with large buildings.

"We will ensure that all proper permits are secured," he said.

Leaked documents show the city's Department of Building Inspection and Millennium Partners knew the building was sinking more than anticipated before it opened in late 2009, but neither made that information public.

City Supervisor Aaron Peskin has convened hearings on the matter.

Click here for more coverage from our sister station KGO-TV in San Francisco.
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