San Francisco’s Sinking Millennium Tower Is Costing Taxpayers $15.7 Million in Legal Bills

October 4, 2018, 12:17 AM UTC

San Francisco taxpayers are likely to get stuck paying the mounting legal bills from a legal dispute over the city’s sinking, leaning, and cracking Millennium Tower skyscraper.

Completed in 2009, the Millennium Tower is a 58-story luxury residence where units have sold for as much as $13 million. The building was intended as a symbol of the revitalization of San Francisco’s South of Market district, until reports emerged in 2016 that it was slowly sinking and even tilting in a northwest direction. Then the tower became a symbol of the hubris of San Francisco’s newly minted tech wealth.

The predictable flurry of lawsuits followed, with developers blaming the city for building a massive Transbay Transit Center across the street. To date, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the legal dispute has generated $15.7 million in attorney fees for San Francisco, a sum that could end up being paid by taxpayers who never really liked the building to begin with.

The Chronicle said that nine lawsuits have already been filed, involving 146 attorneys from as many as 40 firms. San Francisco hired a top construction-law firm, adding to its legal bills.

And that’s not all. Retrofitting the sinking Millennium Tower could cost between $200 million and $500 million. And if the legal battles end with San Francisco responsible for the fixes, the toll on the city’s taxpayers could rise much further.