When your home is slowly sinking into the ground, it’s difficult to believe the solution could ever be worse than the problem. Yet, that is the case with the Millennium Tower in San Francisco.
It all began with a grammar–challenged bureaucrat who worried about “larger than expected settlements.” To our ear that sounded like good news! We envisioned a larger than expected inheritance, a bigger lawsuit award or a real estate transaction gone right for some lucky so–and–so.
Unfortunately, for residents of the 58–story building it meant their homes were sinking.
The majority of residents in California are quite happy to trade constitutional rights and personal independence for the promise of an all–encompassing government security blanket protecting them from viruses, Trump voters and other forms of reality. (See the results of Gov. Gavin Hairdo’s recall election for details.)
Millennium Towers is what happens when California government fails to keep its end of the bargain. Before the tower opened the city’s chief building inspector couldn’t help but notice the building had sunk 8.3 inches before any residents had moved inside.
The developer hired an engineering firm and the hired gun asserted that although the building had “unexpectedly” sunk 8.3 inches, “It is our professional opinion that the structures are safe.”
That was good enough for the chief bureaucrat and the building opened on time.
Subsequently the apartment building’s gradual retreat into the earth’s crust has provided our readers with much entertainment. We’ve written about it here, here and here.
As of 2018 the tower had more than doubled its sink to 18 inches and even worse, like a derelict stumbling along a San Francisco sidewalk, the tower was sinking unevenly. This meant penthouse owners, who paid the most, now enjoy the most lean: 6 inches. It also explains why the water in the hot tub never appears level.
Another crack engineering firm, hired by the developer, has more bad news. This firm thinks the building “might” sink a total of 24 to 31 inches with no prediction as to additional lean.
Lawsuit–filing residents contend Millennium cut corners on the foundation. Instead of extending piles 240 feet down to bedrock, the developer stopped driving piles between 60 and 90 feet (no one can give an exact figure for anything!). Since the tower is built on a landfill this is too shallow for security and the building is too heavy to float.
The developer’s solution to the problem and the lawsuits was to install new piles to reinforce the shoddy, corner–cutting piles that were causing the sinking and leaning in the first place.
Which brings us back to our opening paragraph. SFGate.com informs us that the new “solution” isn’t a solution after all, “Work on fixing San Francisco's beleaguered Millennium Tower will not resume any time soon after a new report found that the fix itself was likely causing further sinking. After abruptly tilting another inch over just a few weeks during construction in June and July, a temporary stop was put on all work on Aug. 23.”
The additional tilt was described as a “sudden drop of an inch on the Fremont Street” that must have been startling to residents who have already been alarmed by the gradual retreat into the former landfill the building rests atop.
Not to worry says the principle engineer on the fix–it project, “That moratorium has been effective in halting the construction-related settlement and tilting.” Well, duh!
What residents are less certain of is that when the fix–it project resumes it will actually fix the problem.
And there we have our headline metaphor. The Millennium Tower is San Francisco’s tallest residential building and it has won a number of engineering awards from all the right ‘experts.’ Yet, it is sinking and leaning and residents are concerned for their safety.
California state government assures us that it is modern and progressive and its policies are awarded with kudos from all the right ‘experts’ and publications. Yet the state’s culture is sinking into a dystopian haves–and–have–nots nightmare where shrinking middle class residents are concerned for their safety.
At least Millennium Tower officials have been persuaded to attempt a fix. California politicians still don’t think there is a problem.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere Speaker's Bureau. Read Michael Reagan's Reports — More Here.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)" Read Michael Shannon's Reports — More Here.
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