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San Francisco will pay out about $7M in damage claims tied to giant sinkhole

Utility workers on the scene of a sinkhole in the intersection of Fillmore and Green streets and subsequent flooding that affected areas down the hill toward Lombard Street in San Francisco on Monday, September 11, 2023.
A sinkhole opened up at the intersection of Fillmore and Green streets last September because of a broken water main. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

A huge sinkhole incident in San Francisco’s Union Street shopping district could cost the city up to $7 million in claims from local residents and businesses after it sent mud and water surging downhill, flooding properties.

The Sept. 10 incident sent water gushing into Kingston Wu’s Wilder SF restaurant. Wu submitted a five-figure claim to the city after the flooding caused damage to the comfort-food restaurant’s floors.

The city has received 46 similar claims related to a broken 1949 water main at the intersection of Fillmore and Green streets that caused an enormous sinkhole to open up, closed roads and left some residents without running water for a short time, according to officials.

Flooding outside Wilder SF restaurant in September 2023
Wilder SF was flooded by water from a broken main last September. | Source: Kingston Wu/Wilder SF

City Attorney’s Office spokesperson Jen Kwart told The Standard the flooding damaged approximately 43 residential and commercial properties. Kwart added that the 46 claims are government code claims and that no claimants have filed a lawsuit.

In December, the Board of Supervisors introduced an ordinance authorizing the city attorney and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to approve funds for claimants. The commission was contacted for comment but did not respond by publication time.

‘They’ve Done Right by Me’

Wu said the city has been responsive and communicative in handling his claim, although he’d like to receive his compensation sooner.

“The whole community saw what happened. When we reopened, we saw good support from the neighborhood.” Wu said. “I don’t want to portray the city in a bad light. They’ve done right by me.”

Kingston Wu, owner of Wilder SF, at Thriller Social Club SF
Kingston Wu poses at Thriller Social Club SF during his restaurant's renovations. | Source: Kingston Wu/Wilder SF

“Our claims investigators were on the scene almost immediately, offering resources and information about remediation,” Kwart said in an email. “We are proposing this settlement ordinance to expedite the settlement process and ensure those impacted by the incident receive prompt payment.”

Kwart added that about two-thirds of claims are below $25,000, while three others are six figures. The Standard requested a list of claims by cost from the City Attorney’s Office but was told to submit a public records request.

The claims are expected to amount to $7 million. Once the funds are approved by the Board of Supervisors, individual claims will be paid out.

Josh Ram can be reached at