Apartment Building in Danger of Slipping into Sea

Residents in California are used to experiencing eroding real estate, although not quite as literally as the tenants of an apartment building overlooking the Pacific Ocean south of San Francisco.

Residents of the Pacifica building were ordered to evacuate on Thursday after a large chunk of land slid down the 50-foot cliff and into the ocean, threatening to take the building with it. Unusually high tides from a winter storm tore away at the base of the cliff, causing rain-soaked sections to collapse.

"If Mother Nature wants to take the place, then she's going to do it," four-month resident Kristy McClure, 37, told the San Mateo County Times.
Apartment buildings on either side of 330 Esplanade were being monitored but were not considered to be in danger. The owners of those buildings had placed a wall of boulders at the base of the cliff to protect it from the crashing waves.

Delfarid Fanine, co-owner of the endangered building, had recently received permits to install a similar rock barrier and work was scheduled to begin any day.

"Unfortunately, it all happened before anyone expected," Fanine told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's nature. No one can beat nature.

The apartment building has 12 one-bedroom, one-bath rental units, according to public records published on Zillow.com. The valuation Web site lists the building as being worth $1.4 million.

Building department officials in this town of 38,000 said they believe the building can be saved and that there is enough time to install the boulder wall, called a riprap. When it's deemed safe, cranes atop the cliff will lower gigantic boulders to the ocean below to keep the waves at bay.

Tony Fortunato, a superintendent with Engineered Soil Repairs - the company that has been hired to try to save the building - has estimated that the cliff had receded as much as 15-feet in recent days.

"They had a lot more real estate last year," Fortunato told the Chronicle. "A lot of it is in the ocean now."
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