$150 Million Fix for Sinking/Tilting Millennium Tower

The 58-story luxury condo Millennium Towers is the “leaning tower of Piza” right here in San Francisco. It’s leaning over by 14 inches, two more than first reported last year when it was discovered the tower was tilting by 12 inches and had sunk into the ground by a foot and a half (far beyond expected settling). Condo owners are up in arms as unit values sink and the basement is cracking, law suits are flying, and fingers are pointing from everybody at everybody else involved.

But, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported—a group of big building engineers has developed a brainy but brutish way to stabilize the building. The firms of Arup Group and LERA were hired by Millennium Partners to find a solution. Their idea: drill down from the basement all the way to bedrock with 50 to 100 new piles—each one 10-12 inches in diameter. Sitting on bedrock, the smartly-positioned piles would right the ship, so to speak. The original piles went down from 60 to 91 feet. Not even close to bedrock. The cost of this solution: between $100 M and $150 M.

Another plus: residents may be able to stay in the building while the piles are being sunk. So far, building permits for the proposal have not been submitted to the SF Planning Department.