Particulars emerge round evacuated San Francisco tower flood

In a letter sent to residents by property manager Hines and reviewed by SFGATE, the company apologized to tenants for the upheaval before detailing what went wrong and when the building may be safe again.

“The cause of the flooding was a main water failure on the 35th floor, which serviced the fire sprinkler system,” the letter, sent on Friday, read. “In the very brief time it took to identify and turn off the water source, an estimated 20,000 gallons of water, which is equivalent to an entire swimming pool, cascaded down through the building into elevator shafts, residential units, electrical rooms, and many other penetrations. This was simply catastrophic.”

The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection is currently investigating the tower, and released an inspection report that categorized the building as “unsafe.” The report states that 95 of the 403 rental units have water damage.

That damage can be seen in a video shared on social media last week, showing water flooding stairwells and elevators.

Hines came under fire from frustrated tenants after the flood, with residents accusing the company of leaving evacuees in the dark. After evacuation orders came via loudspeaker on the afternoon of June 3, the displaced tenants were moved to two downtown hotels with a moment’s notice. Two days later, residents who spoke with SFGATE said they were told to check out of the Hilton Union Square with no clear understanding of where they would be sent next.

“They’re treating us like dogs,” displaced resident Tyler Patterson told SFGATE. “We need reliable housing and notice to relocate.”

“We understand that the lack of information and communication challenges only added stress and frustration,” Hines acknowledged in their letter Friday.

Hines said that due to the extent of the damage, residents will not be able to return to the building until at least July 1. In the meantime they are being provided with hotel accommodations or a $300-a-day stipend.

“We know this news is extremely upsetting and will further complicate an already difficult situation,” the letter read.

Opened in 2018 as part of the Transbay development that includes the Salesforce Tower, the 35-story residence offers co-working spaces, a game room, a spa-equipped, high-end gym and even an optional butler service called Hello Alfred that can take your clothes to the dry cleaner, take the dog for a walk or order takeout food.

Market-rate one and two-bedroom apartments in the building rent for anything from $3,500 to $16,000 a month. The building also houses 54 below market rate units.

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