San Francisco’s tallest residential tower is sinking

Despite efforts to stabilize the foundation, the Millennium Tower, the city’s most expensive residential project, continues to tilt. Elevators and plumbing may stop working.

Photo by Andrew Whitmore on Unsplash.

Some buildings borned under an evil star, and they literally don't straighten anymore. The cases are many and of different scales: the most famous is probably the Tower of Pisa one, unfortunately followed by another famous Italian tower, the Ghirlandina – the Cathedral of Modena’s bell tower – 63 inches out of plumb. To move on to contemporary cases, however, the most discussed is probably that of 432 Park Avenue in New York, a luxury tower that includes an embarrassing amount of construction defects, whose constructive and legal parable also seems to be covered by the Millennium Tower of San Francisco.

Photgraphy by Michael Gimbel.
Photgraphy by Michael Gimbel.

At 301 Mission Street, just a few blocks from the city's financial district, the 58-story tower was completed in 2008. The skyscraper became the most expensive residential project in the city's history and has attracted celebrities to its luxury apartments. Its foundations, however, despite the timely interventions, continue to lower at a much faster rate than those foreseen for a similar project and the tower leans more and more. By 2016, in fact, after only 8 years from its construction, it had already sunk 16 inches.

Ron Hamburger, the engineer who is trying to solve the building's problems, said that if the tower continues to tilt about 7.5 centimeters per year, the elevators and the plumbing system will soon stop working.

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