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One Of San Francisco’s Tallest Buildings Is Sinking, And Nobody Really Knows Why

The ‘Leaning Tower of San Francisco’ has angry people pointing fingers in all directions.

In a development that’s baffling structural and civil engineers alike, Millennium Tower, a mostly residential building, has sunk 16 inches since opening in 2009.

The building is now being colloquially referred to as the “Leaning Tower of San Francisco” because the sinking has favored one side over the other, giving the top of the building a two-inch slant that isn’t cause for concern now, but may get more drastic if the problem’s not identified and addressed.


Here’s a look at the structure:

As is typical for issues in real estate development, fingers are being pointed in all direction at the civil engineers responsible for determining the quality and nature of any subterranean soil and phenomena, the structural engineers responsible for dictating the nature of the foundations, and the contractors responsible for pouring the foundations as called out.

Some city officials are also suggesting that construction of a nearby railway station may be compromising the integrity of the soil under the building as well, but answers aren’t quite as plentiful as defenses and accusations at this point.

The European Space Agency, who are looking down at the structure and measuring it from space, is suggesting that the building is continuing to descend into the Earth at a rate of an inch per year. Nonetheless, and unsurprisingly, the developers are maintaining the building is perfectly safe for occupation, since stating anything less than that would be tantamount to hanging a “sue me” sign around their necks.

The developers have hired new engineers to drill into the soil to confirm the original soil tests prior to construction and/or determine if the integrity of it has changed since construction. However, tenant Jerry Dodson remains skeptical, saying, “To have the space agency looking at it debunks what (developers) have put out there. Now we know it’s continuing to sink at an accelerated rate, I can tell you that satellite data is way more accurate that digging in the dirt.”

That’s not necessarily true, but with everyone looking out for themselves in this war of words, it’s going to take some very compelling evidence to assign blame in a satisfactory manner for all involved.

In the meantime, if you’re fortunate enough to be a resident on the upper floors of Millennium Tower, I would hold off on including any billiards rooms in your remodel plans until this strange issue is resolved.

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via David Leavitt / Twitter

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