Saturday, July 20, 2019

Residents of San Francisco’s ‘leaning tower’ pitch $100M fix to city officials

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Homeowners living in San Francisco’s sinking and leaning Millennium Tower have presented a $100 million plan to fix the problem that’s plagued the city’s tallest residential tower for nearly a decade.

The 58-story skyscraper sits on a 10-foot-thick concrete mat foundation held in place by 950 reinforced concrete piles, which are driven deep into the ground. Since its opening in 2009, the building has sunk 18 inches, leans 14 inches to the west and 6 inches to the north — leading residents to worry about its safety, particularly in an earthquake-prone city like San Francisco. It’s become known as the city’s Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The Millennium Tower Homeowner’s Association and Mission Street Development agreed to a plan to retrofit the foundation with new concrete piles, hoping to stop the sinking and reverse the tilt. The plan, though, submitted Tuesday, needs approval from both the city and county of San Francisco.

“Today we submitted … a permit application that outlines the plans for what we’ve called the ‘Perimeter Pile Upgrade’ to install 52 concrete piles that are going to transfer a portion of the building’s weight from its existing foundation system to bedrock which is 250 feet below,” homeowner’s association spokesman Doug Elmets told UPI Tuesday.

If approved, contractors will install 22 new perimeter piles along Mission Street and 30 along Fremont Street, each measuring 24 inches in diameter and weighing 140,000 pounds. The engineers who designed the plan said the new reinforcement on the north and west sides of the tower will keep it from sinking too far and straighten the tilt.

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