The developers of San Francisco’s 58-storey Millennium Tower claim to have laid out the building’s risks in precise detail when its apartments were put on the market seven years ago.
A disclosure statement warned that the interior decorating might not be “completely uniform”, the surrounding streets could be noisy, and landscaping in the public areas was subject to change. The document did not, however, mention that by the time the Millennium Tower was completed in 2009, it had sunk over eight inches into the soil.
The building, which is being touted as the tallest reinforced concrete building in the western U.S., has now sunk an estimated 16 inches and has acquired a six-inch tilt. The situation has become a public scandal and inspired questions about whether or not the city authorities were properly monitoring the city’s tall building spree.
Former San Francisco mayor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, contacted incumbent mayor Edwin M. Lee about the number of buildings that, like Millennium Tower, are not securely anchored in Bedrock. Mr Lee replied that he had requested an amendment to the earthquake safety plan to require a mandatory review of soil conditions during property sales.
San Francisco’s building spree has mostly occurred in an area that used to be part of San Francisco Bay.
One Millennium Tower resident, Mr. Jerry Dodson, is organizing the owners of the 400-plus units in the building to demand compensation from Millennium Partners, the developers.
Mr. Dodson expressed concerns that if the building continues to sink, its sewage connections may no longer work and the entire elevator system may fail. Over time, he said, Millennium Tower could become unlivable.