Design flaw in Metreon led to mold in other buildings 

Mold infested civic and private buildings after rainwater leaked for years through a flawed joint in the Metreon.

The building in the South of Market neighborhood was designed as a kingdom for gamers, but it now languishes with a large vacancy rate and an identity crisis.

Plans to turn the hulking building into an eating destination failed recently, and the latest rejuvenation efforts rely on attracting large retail tenants such as Target.

The building’s mold problem dates to its construction in the late 1990s, when a long expansion joint was installed.

The joint was designed to allow the Metreon and surrounding buildings to move about safely during an earthquake.

But the waterproofing system associated with the joint was found to be defective.

Rainwater seeped through the joint, damaging the Metreon and three surrounding buildings.

Mold now covers hidden walls in portions of the city-owned Moscone Center, privately owned Marriott Ballroom and a storage facility associated with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Yerba Buena Gardens.

The joint was repaired in June 2009 by Westfield Metreon, which purchased the building in 2006.

The company has offered to pay to remove mold caused by the flaw in affected buildings, according to Redevelopment Agency project manager Amy Neches. “Westfield is paying for all of it,” she said.

Most of the damage is in underground passageways that are not visible to the public.

Repair efforts on public buildings are scheduled for September and October.

“Walls have dark spots on them, but it’s just mold,” Neches said.

Redevelopment Agency commissioners approved a work plan Tuesday affecting the agency’s property.

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