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VIDEO: SF Tower Sinking and Tilting Toward the Street

Luxe condo highrise built on sand has sunk 16 inches and is leaning two inches northwest

August 02, 2016

Residents of San Francisco's Millennium Tower are none too pleased with the direction their building has taken in the past 8 years.

The luxury 58-story highrise at 301 Mission Street, featuring condos priced up to $10 million, is not built on bedrock and instead sits on a thick concrete slab atop an area of mud fill. Pilings extend 80 feet into dense sand - about 120 feet shy of the bedrock layer.

Quick question: They get earthquakes out there, right?

The builder expected some settling, estimating the tower would sink maybe 6 inches over its lifetime.

P.J. Johnston, spokesman for Millennium Partners and principal owner Sean Jeffries, said a 2014 independent safety review “determined the settlement has not significantly affected the seismic performance of the building, and does not represent a safety risk.”

Greg Deirlein, director of Standford's Earthquake Engineering department says the sinking situation is a significant concern.

Who is to blame depends on who is asked. Parties that could be held legally accountable for the building's shifting could include the Transbay Join Power Authority, Caltrans, Caltrain and AC Transit. That's because all of those operations pushed heavily for the completion of the tower as an anchor for the beleaguered Transbay Transit Center, with the TJPA alone pumping $58 million into an underground support system for the tower before it even broke ground in 2010.

Residents are being advised not to rush to sell their units, being told the problem will be fixed.

Source: Bizjournals.com; CBS Local; ABC7news.com

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