- Millennium Tower, a skyscraper in San Francisco, is sinking and leaning.
- A recent segment on “60 Minutes” showed staggering footage of the cracks spreading in the building’s basement.
- Residents of Millennium Tower are fleeing the building and selling their multimillion-dollar condos at a loss.
The situation over at Millennium Tower, a 58-story skyscraper in San Francisco that is sinking and leaning, is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Earlier this month, “60 Minutes” aired a segment on the troubled tower that showed huge cracks running across the basement of Millennium Tower.
“There’s enough of them, a spiderweb of cracks, that you have be concerned about what’s going on underneath,” said Jerry Dodson, a resident who lives on the 42 floor, in an interview.
Dodson, an engineer and a lawyer, told “60 Minutes” that structural and geotechnical engineers suggested he make daily rounds of the building’s basement to check on the stress gauges. These devices measure in millimetres the growth of cracks on the columns rising from the foundation.
The cracks are a constant reminder of the building’s slow descent into packed sand and rubble. Millennium Tower has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches since it was completed in 2008.
What caused the residential high-rise to sink depends on who you ask.
The developers of Millennium Tower, Millennium Partners, argue that construction nearby is to blame for any sinking or tilting. They claim builders of the new transportation hub next door pumped too much water from the ground during a construction process known as dewatering.
When the water levels under the Millennium Tower dropped, the sand compressed and caused the building to settle, according to Chris Jeffries, a founding partner of Millennium Partners.
The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the agency responsible for the new transit center, maintains it is not at fault. Instead, the agency blames an “inadequate foundation.”
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.
Though an inspection by the city in January showed the tower is safe to occupy, the situation has sparked an exodus from the building. Residents say they’re selling multimillion-dollar condos at a loss, with the value of their homes tumbling $US320,000 on average.
According to “60 Minutes,” there are at least 20 parties involved in lawsuits related to Millennium Tower. Dodson, who is representing both himself and other residents in one of the lawsuits, said it takes the court 30 minutes just to take attendance during legal proceedings.
Millennium Tower is expected to sink an additional inch per year.
To watch the full “60 Minutes” segment, go to CBS.com.
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