The Millennium Tower in San Francisco is sinking and tilting. However, there is little good news for the residents of the luxury building which has sunk 17 inches and titled nearly 14 inches since its completion in 2008. Engineers have proposed a fix for the tower’s issues and are expected to drill hundreds of steel and concrete “micro piles” into the bedrock. This will be done to stabilize and bring the tower back up again.
This fix can cost between $200 million and $500 million, which is much more than the cost to build the skyscraper 10 years ago, which was $350 million. Despite the inspection team’s approval that the tower is safe to occupy, the residents say that their condos have lost $320,000 on average in value.
Millennium Tower has 58 stories and is the fourth tallest-skyscraper with more than 400 multimillion-dollar condo units. It rises to 645 feet and gives a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay Area. It was completed in 2008 and has top-notch facilities like a pool, fitness center, wine cellar, movie theater, and concierge services.
Millennium Tower sold nearly $100 million worth of condos in the first five weeks of sale. Each unit ranged in price from $1.6 million to $10 million. After the leaning of building in 2015, the residents were not happy at all. Millennium Partners, the real-estate developers, blamed that the construction on a massive transit center nearby is the reason for tilting and sinking. The $2.3 billion bus terminal, which was developed by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, included a 60-foot hole for the train tunnel and an underground buttress. A founding partner of the Millennium Partners said at a press conference that there was “only one issue” and the construction for the new terminal pumped too much water out of the ground.
Once the water levels under the Millennium Tower dropped, the sand compressed and caused the building to sink. The issue was highlighted in 2010. The agency released a statement in October and condemned the allegations against it as a “distraction from the exclusive cause” of the tower’s tilt “inadequate foundation.” The statement also says that Millennium Tower’s verticle settlement began two years before the Transbay Joint Powers Authority began any work. Some people are blaming the city officials in San Francisco for allowing Millennium Partners to anchor the building 80-feet into packed sand rather than building it 200 feet down to bedrock.
Millenium Tower has nearly 1000 pillars underneath to carry the building. Its weight along with the resistance of the soil underneath should be able to keep it in place. The tower also stands on land which is prone to liquefaction. It is a process by which loose sand and silt behave like a liquid in case of an earthquake. A report created after checking if the building was still good enough to live in states, “There was no evidence of life-safety concerns observed during the inspection.”
According to satellite images taken in 2016, the tower will continue to sick at 2-in per year which is double as compared to what was suggested earlier. People who were trying to sell their condo have now disappeared after they saw that their skyscraper has started making international headlines. The fate of Millenium Tower is still unknown while it continues to sink.