Pacifica City Council votes to demolish building falling into sea

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- The crumbling cliff beneath a red-tagged apartment building in Pacifica is getting worse. City council gave the go head to use city money Wednesday to demolish the building before it collapses into the ocean.

The building could collapse at any time which is why this project has been Pacifica's top priority. Demolition could start as early as Monday.

The cliff beneath 310 Esplanade has been eroding quickly for the past several weeks. The fear is that pieces of the apartment building will fall into the ocean--lead and asbestos being the primary concern.

"If we wait too much longer we're going to have structures on the beach and the cleanup of that sort of disaster is much more expensive, time consuming and difficult for the environment too," said Ted Sayer, a geological engineer. "Since there's hazardous materials.

Pacifica City Council voted unanimously to take a big chunk out of the city's discretionary fund to pay for the demolition--nearly $220,000.

The property owner, Millard Tong is supposed to pay for it himself but has declared bankruptcy.

His building will be the third one on Esplanade Avenue to be demolished due to erosion.

"This is not simple for the city to do," said Pacifica City Manager Lorie Tinfow. "And in fact the implications of it falling into the beach weren't so dire, in other words, the cost being so much higher, we would not be taking this action."

people who've witnessed the cliffside saga on and off since 2010 say they won't be sorry to see the building go. "You had squatters and I've been here when they've been breaking windows inside and people staying in there and stuff," said former Pacifica resident Kyle Gibson. "It's just not safe to have it.

The contractor who won the bid, SV Demolition, needs at least three days to mobilize. The work will begin when the weather cooperates.
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