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Millennium Tower now leaning even more

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Can it finally be fixed?

Patricia Chang

Millennium Tower, the tony but troubled downtown high-rise that made international headlines last year when the secret got out that it’s slowly sinking and tilting, returned to its customary place in the news late Tuesday when NBC Bay Area revealed that the building “has tilted two and half more inches in just the first half of this year, according to new monitoring data.”

Says the affiliate:

The data, compiled by the ARUP engineering firm brought in by officials of the nextdoor Transbay transit terminal project, suggest the structure is tilting twice as fast as it had been in earlier ARUP data.

It is now listing at least 14 inches toward the massive Salesforce building going up nearby on Mission Street. The data also show the building has sunk close to 17 inches at its low point, settling about an inch since the problem emerged last year.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who has conducted a series of City Hall inquisitions trying to figure out who dropped the ball on the building’s design, took to Twitter to voice his exasperation.

“Accelerated sinking continues,” tweeted Peskin, then sarcastically referenced Mayor Ed Lee’s efforts last year to reassure U.S. Senator and former Mayor of San Francisco Dianne Feinstein that the city could manage the building’s woes.

In comments to NBC Peskin compared his hearings (which he vowed to continue) as “yelling into the wind.”

At the same time, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that two engineering firms hired by developer Millennium Partners have a potential solution:

The firms say the problem can be remedied by drilling 50 to 100 new piles down to bedrock from the building’s basement. Each pile would be anywhere from 10 inches to a foot in diameter.

[...] The engineering firms estimate the fix will cost $100 million to $150 million — more than your average home foundation repair, but a lot less than the billion-dollar-plus price tag that some experts have feared.

Patricia Chang

In the meantime, lawsuits are still pilling up and homeowners continue to press the city to reassess their six and seven-figure condos, even though Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu has previously adjusted the values of only a few homes slightly downward.

Despite all of the bad press, several Millennium Tower homeowners have managed to sell their condos at a profit since the bad news broke last August.

A four bed, four bath home in the tower’s podium building still hopes to net $5.9 million on the open market now.

But this doesn’t necessarily reflect on whether the structural defects should hurt the assessed home values.