Repairs to stop a 58-story San Francisco luxury building from sinking instead made it sink more

On August 25, 2021, the Millennium Tower can be seen in San Francisco, California. Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Instead of stopping the Millennium Tower's sinking from its 58-story height, repairs were made to make it worse.

Multiple reports indicate that the issue could have been avoided had construction been stopped sooner.

The luxury condo skyscraper tilts about 22 inches towards its northwest corner.

Instead of stopping the Millennium Tower's sinking from its 58-story height, repairs were made to make it sink more.

The Millennium Tower, a $350-million building, had already fallen 17 inches since its opening in 2009. Construction was halted in August after engineers discovered that the building had lost another inch despite efforts to strengthen its foundation.

SFGate reported that the luxury condo skyscraper tilts now about 22 inches to its northwest.

Robert Pyke, a geotechnical engineering engineer, said that the $100 million project for fixing the sinking should have been stopped before it was halted in august.

Residents are seen inside their residence on the 42nd Floor of the Millennium Tower in San Francisco. AP/Eric Risberg

Engineer logs and emails from within the company, which were obtained by the CBS affiliate local, confirmed by Pyke that the building was slowly sinking but that construction continued.

Ron Hamburger, the project's chief engineer, stated in a statement to the station that they could have prevented further tilting and sinking if they had paused construction earlier.

Hamburger stated that while some settlements and tilting have occurred over the past months, it could have been prevented by stopping construction sooner. However, the building's safety and functionality were not affected. The project team also gathered valuable information about the causes as construction progressed.

In 2016, hundreds of residents sued the skyscraper's developers and designers. Although studies showed that the skyscraper did not have any life-safety issues, residents expressed concern about the possible damage an earthquake could cause to the tower.

The Millennium Tower in San Francisco is shown in this file photo, taken Sept. 26, 2016. Eric Risberg/AP

According to The San Francisco Examiner, a settlement was reached last year. It resulted in "very substantial" payments to condo owners. The plan also included drilling "52 concrete piles below the bedrock" to stabilize the building.

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After months of hard work, the building continued to sink, resulting in repairs being stopped.

In just five weeks, the high-rise was sold $100 million worth condos for prices between $1.6 million and $10 million.

SFGate reported that construction on the building was partially resumed this week.

Business Insider has the original article.