A 58-story skyscraper in San Francisco is tilting and sinking - and residents say their multimillion-dollar condos are 'nearly worthless'
Sep 13, 2017, 19:11 IST
Pedestrians inspect cracks near the sinking Millennium Tower in San Francisco.
Bad news keeps piling up at the "leaning tower" of San Francisco.
Millennium Tower is a luxury residential high-rise that has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches since it was completed in 2008. Though an inspection by the city showed it's safe to occupy, the building's wealthy residents take no solace. Their multimillion-dollar condos have tumbled $320,000 in value on average.
Here's what we know about the fate of Millennium Tower.
As Millennium Tower keeps on sinking, its fate remains unclear.
Football legend Joe Montana and his wife are seeking $2.7 million in reimbursement and $1 million for "consequential damanges" for buying the condo they now call "uninhabitable".
Now a group of Millennium Tower residents are fighting to get their money back.
Gaps found in the walls of some units could also present risks in the event of a fire, according to a report commissioned by the homeowner's association.
Satellite images that show Millennium Tower sinking from space suggest it will continue to sink at a rate of two inches per year. That's double what engineers earlier estimated.
There's good news and bad news for the residents of Millennium Tower. In January, a study by the city's Department of Building Inspection found that the skyscraper is safe to live in.
The biggest cause for concern is the looming possibility of an earthquake.
Some critics blame the city of San Francisco for allowing Millennium Partners to anchor the building 80 feet into packed sand rather than 200 feet down to bedrock.
The Transbay Joint Powers Authority maintains it is not at fault for the building's sinking.
A founding partner of Millennium Partners said at a press conference there's "only one issue" — construction for the new terminal pumped too much water out of the ground.
The new terminal, developed by a transportation agency called the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, includes a 60-foot hole for the train tunnel and an underground buttress.
The developers of Millennium Tower, Millennium Partners, argue that construction nearby is to blame for any sinking or tilting. A city transportation hub, the Transbay Transit Center, broke ground next door in 2010 about two years after the Millennium Tower was completed.
So far in 2017, Millennium Tower has sunk an additional inch and tilted another two and half inches toward the massive Salesforce Tower under construction across the street.
But residents weren't happy after learning in June 2015 that the building is sinking. It had settled 16 inches into soil and tilted two inches at its base when they were notified.
Some pretty famous tenants have called Millennium Tower home, including former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and late venture capitalist Tom Perkins.
In the first five weeks of sales, Millennium Tower sold $100 million worth of condos, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The units ranged in price from $1.6 million to $10 million.
Completed in 2008, Millennium Tower includes top-notch amenities, including a pool, fitness center, wine cellar and tasting room, movie theater, and concierge service.
The city's fourth tallest skyscraper contains over 400 multimillion-dollar condo units. It soars 645 feet in the air, providing residents with panoramic views of the Bay Area.
Millennium Tower rises 58 stories above San Francisco's Financial District.