The ongoing project to consolidate the foundations of the sinking and tilting Millennium Tower in downtown SF is temporarily on hold as engineers examine a newly accelerated dent and tilt in the building.
The saga of the 58-story tower becoming the “Leaning Tower of San Francisco” dates back five years, in August 2016, when the first report arrived that the skyscraper – which houses Joe Montana and Hunter Pence – had sunk. over sixteen inches in the eight years since construction began. One of the causes, as engineers quickly assumed, was the developers’ failure to drill piles all the way to bedrock for the foundation, which the nearby Salesforce tower has. But the developer has pointed the finger at the construction of the nearby Transbay Transit Center, claiming that the “drying out” of the ground for this project has led to an increased “installation” for the Millennium Tower.
Fast forwarded through a frenzy of local and national media coverage and a heap of lawsuits, and a $ 100 million fix was laid on which new piles would be drilled all the way to bedrock, and the existing foundation of the Millennium Tower. attached to these, to stop the sinking and possibly repair the tilt.
Corn as reported by NBC Bay Area, residents were recently told that the project was temporarily halted out of “excess of caution” as the building appears to have sunk faster than it had in just a few months. Drilling on the new piles began in May and by June engineers reportedly saw accelerated sinking and tipping, which is now a full inch of sinking since work began. This translates to an additional five inch tilt at the top, for a total of 22 inches in the direction of Fremont and Mission streets.
“There has been no physical damage to the building, and it remains completely safe,” the Millennium Tower Association said in a letter to residents about the temporary construction hiatus.
Nervousness about the towerâs lingering problems increased following the June collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, which has drawn national attention to structural integrity issues. But the chief engineer of the Millennium Tower Ronald Hamburger told CNN in July that there should be no point in making comparisons.
“The Millennium Tower was designed to strict earthquake resistance standards and is a much harder form of construction than typical Florida buildings, which do not need to be designed to withstand earthquakes.” said Hamburger. “I can say with certainty that the settlements undergone by the Millennium Tower have not compromised its stability and security.”
But an outside expert, Oakland-based structural engineer David Williams, told NBC Bay Area that the new data on the acceleration of the sinking is not nothing.
“The trend is the thing that is very worrying, the fact that they have reactivated colonization,” he told the station, adding that the speed of the new sinking is of particular concern.
He also said: “It is very risky to play with something as complex as the foundation of this structure and not understand what is going on,” adding that “excessive damage” to the tower could result from faster sinking at this point.
It remains to be seen when the foundation-shoring project will resume.
Previously: SF taxpayers on hook for $ 30 million to shore up sinking Millennium Tower
Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images