San Francisco's Millennium Tower sinks another inch, construction halted

As of February of last year, the building had already sank 17 inches since first opening in 2009.

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Thursday, August 26, 2021
San Francisco's Millennium Tower sinks another inch
Building representatives say the construction work at San Francisco's Millennium Tower has been halted due to another inch of sinking.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco is sinking again. The tower at Mission and Fremont has been the center of controversy since May of 2016 when residents there were informed that the main tower was sinking.

Construction work to fix the problem had just started up and now comes confirmation that it sank another inch.

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While everything may look normal at San Francisco's Millennium Tower, building representatives say the construction work has been halted due to more sinking. This time another inch, which means it is now leaning five inches on the top.

As of February of last year, the building had already sank 17 inches since first opening in 2009.

This construction work is a multi-million dollar project to fix that problem but now, "accelerated settlement," which is "due to construction activities related to installation of 36-inch and 24-inch casings," has been seen. Basically that work has consisted of 52 piles being drilled 250 feet into bedrock, three times deeper than the current piles used with a goal of stabilizing the building. But now, more sinking.

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The Millennium Tower Association filed a permit application with the city and county of San Francisco to retrofit the leaning and sinking Millennium Tower.

Worrisome to some, but not former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who lives there and believes in those working on the project.

"Hundred million dollars and it's the brains of MIT and it's 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," says Brown.

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In 2016, you may remember the homeowner who put a golf ball on the floor of a Millennium Tower unit, it then started rolling, signifying the tilt of the building and leading to lawsuits.

Construction work here has now been stopped for two to four weeks while engineers work at determining how to solve the issue going forward. A representative says that once that issue is fixed and the piles are fully installed, there will be substantial improvement when it comes to the tilting. Brown says with so many people focused on the building, he believes it's safe, and says he'll still sleep just fine at night.

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The homeowner's association tells ABC7 News that the homeowner on the 41st floor left the window open, and they think that combined with gale-force winds caused the window to fail.

"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 say that while there has been sinking and tilting, there has been no material harm to the building and it remains fully safe.