San Francisco

New San Francisco Tower Project Tied to Newly Tilting FDIC Building

Construction on what will become San Francisco’s second tallest building appears to be causing the 20-story building next door to tilt, NBC Bay Area has learned.

That would make it the second building in the city to tilt – behind the Millennium Tower, which is now listing 17 inches to the north and west and is mired in a legal quagmire.

The newly tilting building is at 25 Jessie Street, and it serves as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s western headquarters.

Before and after images show new cracks that developed in the concrete wall that faces the Oceanwide project, began soon after crews started boring holes some 200 feet down to anchor the 900 foot tall tower to bedrock.

NBC Bay Area has learned rooftop measurements indicate the FDIC building is now tilting more than 1.5 inches toward the site of the nearby Oceanwide tower at First and Mission streets.

Ron Tom, an administrator with the city’s Department of Building Inspection, says he learned about the soil settlement issue at a recent hearing before the Board of Supervisors.

“As an official responsible for administering the building code, yes, I am concerned,” he said after that hearing.

The Department of Building Inspection has accepted an expert’s finding that the amount of settlement and tilting of the FDIC building does not currently pose a life safety risk.

FDIC officials declined to comment.

Oceanwide spokesman Matt Dorsey said in a statement that it has brought in outside experts to continue to evaluate the issue.

“As project developers, we’re committed to being good neighbors, and our commitment to independent monitoring and coordination is a part of that,” the company said.

City Supervisor Aaron Peskin still wants to know how another building ended up in the same predicament as the Millennium Tower.

“This is shades of Millennium Tower all over again,” he said, adding that he later learned the city never required the Oceanwide project to provide any assessment of its impact on neighboring buildings.

Documents show the city exempted the project from environmental review. That means no one reviewed the July 2015 findings of a geotechnical firm that the foundation of the FDIC building “does not require underpinning.”

The firm which gave that advice was Oakland-based Langan Treadwell Rollo. Now renamed Langan, the firm did not respond to calls seeking comment.

It was engineers from the firm, which was then called Treadwell and Rollo, who engineered the foundation of the now sinking and tilting Millennium Tower more than a decade ago.

Tom says other outside experts have looked at the FDIC foundation in light of the Oceanwide project and he is now satisfied with their conclusion that the amount of expected differential settlement is not significant.

“We do not have the resources or the ability or the expertise to conduct monitoring as a department,” Tom said. “We depend on design professionals who have the proper equipment, training, certification to do that work. “

Peskin says he wants to make sure the city does enough to protect the FDIC building from any tilting or settlement triggered by Oceanwide tower construction.

“In this instance the building has not yet been built, so they need to take immediate steps to ensure the building ten feet away is not going to suffer the same fate as Millennium Tower.”

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