San Francisco’s Millennium Tower Halts Construction as it Begins Sinking Again

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Robison Wells
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The controversial 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco, CA, continues to sink. As of February 2020, the tower had sunk 17 inches since it first opened in 2009. Recent readings show that, despite construction efforts to reinforce the building, it has descended another inch.

The issue gained national prominence in 2016 when on video, an apartment owner placed a golf ball on his living room floor and watched it roll with the tilt of the building. The video went viral.

A multi-million dollar project intends to fix what engineers call “accelerated settlement,” which is  “due to construction activities related to the installation of 36-inch and 24-inch casings.” So far, construction crews have driven 52 piles 250 feet into the bedrock, three times the depth of the Millennium Tower’s original piles.

Since inspectors measured the additional inch of sinking, construction crews halted work so architects can reevaluate the plan.

Former Mayor Willie Brown lives in the tower. “A hundred million dollars, and it’s the brains of MIT and its entire engineering-trained operation that is doing this kind of work, and have made this assessment to go all the way down to bedrock, most buildings don’t go to bedrock.”

Brown says that he sleeps comfortably with such experts on the job. “With no trouble at all, as a matter of fact. I’ll be sleeping better because I know it’s not going to be too long before somebody offers me a lot more than we paid for it,” says Brown.

Building representatives claim that despite the sinking, the Millennium Tower offers safe accommodations for its tenants.

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