SAN FRANCISCO - A cracked window on the 36th floor of the Millennium Tower is the latest problem for the sinking and tilting San Francisco skyscraper.
The window cracked early Saturday at the posh $350 million Mission Street tower, the tallest residential building in San Francisco.
City officials have blocked off part of the sidewalk on Mission Street as a precaution, but say it doesn’t appear the cracked window is presenting a safety issue to those on the ground.
The San Francisco Building Inspection Department said they immediately dispatched an inspector. He wasn't able to enter the unit because the resident was not there, according to William Strawn of the SF Building Inspection Department.
City inspectors did on Tuesday issue a “correction notice,” giving the building’s management until the close of business Friday to report back on the extent of the problem and the repairs needed.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin has held a series of hearings about the 58-story Millennium Tower since it became clear that the skyscraper has major structural problems.
Peskin said additional problems with windows, which are designed to withstand hurricane force winds, could cause catastrophic problems.
“If a window failed entirely it would rain shards of glass hundreds of feet below down onto one of the busiest, most congested parts of the city,’’ Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The city better take this seriously.”
The building, known as the Leaning Tower of San Francisco, has sunk about 18 inches into the ground and tilted more than a foot since its completion in 2009. Residents have filed multiple lawsuits against the developer and the city over the structural problems.
It has not yet been determined if the cracked window is directly related to tower’s previous structural issues.
Building Manager Michael Scofield, who updated residents about the incident in an email Monday, said “from the description of the incident given by residents, it is possible that this incident is related to other issues in the building.”
Engineers say, there are many reasons that glass in a building can crack. It can be from defects in the glass itself or the glazing that covers it. It could also be from impacts from outside or inside. It could also be from stresses, everything from high winds to settling of the building.
"Immediately, we went over and inspected the unit personally and we arranged for our experts to come in," said Millennium Towers homeowner and President of the Homeowners Association, Steven Mayer.
"What our structural engineer preliminarily has to say as well as our administration or window expert is that this is a one off issue right now, but we are continuing to address the problem and we will have a more definitive answer in the next 24 to 72 hours from our expert," said Homeowners Association attorney Tom Miller. So, one crack, no big deal. But, if more start showing up, potential major deal. "So, if we see a pattern, then it becomes a systemic problem we then have to address it on all units," said attorney Miller.