- Since its opening in 2009, Millennium Tower has sunk at least 18 inches while tilting 14 inches.
- After years of legal battles, developers launched a $100 million plan to fix the tower's foundation.
- But the building has sunk further, forcing engineers to pause construction for two to four weeks.
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Since its opening in 2009, the $350 million Millennium Tower in San Francisco has sunk 17 inches and tilted another 14 inches to the northwest.
Following years of legal battles, the developers launched a $100 million engineering plan to fix the building's corrupted foundation. So far, it's not working.
Construction on the tower paused this week after engineers determined the building had sunk another inch despite attempts to strengthen the foundation.
Millennium Tower spokesman Doug Elmets told The Associated Press that repairs will be paused for the next two to four weeks as they try to figure out why. He told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that the building is still safe to live in.
Hundreds of concerned residents sued the developers and designers of the 58-story skyscraper in 2016. While studies reported the building showed "no evidence of life-safety concerns," people expressed worry about the potential damage an earthquake could have on the tower.
A settlement was finalized last year, leading to "very significant" payouts to condo owners and a plan to drill "52 concrete piles down to the bedrock" in order to stabilize the building. But after months of work, the building still sunk further, leading to the halt to repairs.
The high-rise, which was first proposed in 2002 and later built in 2005, managed to sell $100 million worth of condos priced from $1.6 million to $10 million in only five weeks.
"Our construction documents for the project included continuous monitoring of the building during construction and for ten years after that. The monitoring has indicated an increased rate of settlement associated with pile installation. Out of an abundance of caution, we have placed a two to four-week moratorium on pile installation while we try to understand better the mechanisms associated with the increased settlement rate and available means of mitigating this," Elmets told Insider in a statement.
"There has been no material harm to the building and it remains fully safe. Once pile installation is complete and load is transferred to the new piles, the building will experience substantial improvement and begin to recover some of the tilting that has occurred over the years," he added.