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Designer of Massive Harlem Project Sued Over 'Sinking' San Francisco Tower

By Dartunorro Clark | February 22, 2017 5:05pm
 Sendero Verde will be an eco-friendly development with 163 units made
Sendero Verde will be an eco-friendly development with 163 units made "permanently affordable," officials said.
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Handel Architects

EAST HARLEM — The architects chosen to design a massive city-backed East Harlem apartment complex are also behind a controversial high-rise in San Francisco that residents say is sinking.

The city announced a deal this month for Sendero Verde, a 751,000-square-foot energy efficient building that would take up almost an entire block bordered by Madison and Park avenues and East 111th and 112th streets.

The project, developed by L+M Development Partners and a team led by Jonathan Rose Companies, is being designed by Handel Architects, whose portfolio is made up of high-end luxury buildings, according to its website.

Handel also designed Millennium Tower, a gleaming 58-story high-rise that has been dubbed "The Leaning Tower of San Francisco,” according to NPR.

The building has been embroiled in a lawsuit that claims it has sunk 16 inches and tilted as far as six inches since it opened in 2008, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR.

The Millennium Tower offers homes that sell for between $1.6 million and $10 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

An ongoing lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court in August 2016 by residents named Handel along with the developer and engineers, according to Law360, saying they are “responsible for the design and build of the structure.”

The company has also designed luxury condos in New York including Trump SoHo, an affordable housing development in Brooklyn called Greenpoint Landing and a development on Roosevelt Island.

Handel's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The city’s Housing and Preservation Department said the developer chose the architect and the team was selected as the best fit through the proposal process. 

It's not clear if the city was aware of the "sinking" controversy in San Francisco.

“Handel Architects was selected by the development team designated to develop the East 111th Street site,” said Juliet Pierre-Antoine, a spokeswoman for the department.

“Their SustaiNYC proposal was selected through a highly competitive, objective process that scored each project on a range of factors including the mix of affordability, the mix of commercial and community space, the quality of the design, the sustainability and financial feasibility of the project and the extent to which it met the priorities identified by the community.”