San Francisco’s infamous Millennium Tower – a luxury condominium where star athletes and retired Google employees bought multi-million dollar apartments before realizing it was about to sink – continues to sink and tilt to the side at about 7.5 cm per year, according to the engineer responsible for fixing the troubled building.
In a few years, if the tilting continues at today̵[ads1]7;s speed, the 58-storey luxury building could reach the point where the elevators and plumbing work may no longer work, said Ron Hamburger, the engineer.
The Millennium Tower opened to fanfare in 2009, and its more than 400 apartments were quickly sold out, for a reported $ 750 million in total. But by 2016, the building had sunk 40 inches into the soft soil and landfill of San Francisco’s dense financial district.
The building’s ongoing sloping position, which has continued despite a planned $ 100 million solution, has made comparisons with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leading to a lawsuit by residents against the building’s developers and designers and rounds of accusations between developers and city officials.
In an early trial, some residents claimed that apartments that were once valued at prices as high as $ 5.1 million were now worth almost nothing. In 2020, a confidential settlement included a $ 100 million scheme to fix the building, and a plan to compensate homeowners in the building for estimated losses.
But the building has continued through the repair process.
Work to strengthen the building’s foundation stopped last summer, after engineers discovered that the building had sunk another inch in the months since repair efforts had begun. An empty incline at the foundation of the building was translated into an additional 5-inch slope at the top of the high-rise, the NBC Bay Area reported last summer, pushing the building’s total tilt at the time to 22 inches.
Today, the building’s total tilt is at the top 26 inches, an increase of 10 inches since the “so-called repair” of the building began last year, NBC Bay Area reported.
Hamburger told the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in an update hearing last week that the building is still safe and that installing 18 steel piles to the bedrock is the best way to stop the tilting and possibly reverse some of it, KNTV-TV reported.
“The building continues to settle at a rate of about half an inch per year and to tilt at a rate of about 3 inches per year,” he told supervisors last week. “It does this whether we perform work on site or not.”
High-profile residents have included former San Francisco 49er Joe Montana, late venture capitalist Tom Perkins and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.
The building’s benefits included a wine cellar, movie screening room and a button that promised to let residents call in “engineering help” within 15 minutes.