The curious case of San Francisco’s leaning tower: ‘There is nothing like this’

The curious case of san francisco's leaning tower: 'there is nothing like this'
The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California / © Beck Diefenbach

The city’s tallest residential building is sinking, and has been compared to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Now the blame game is coming swift and furious

The luxury condominiums at the Millennium Tower in San Francisco include every conceivable perk – from a wine cellar and screening room to the opportunity to attend “fireside chats with local and international thoughts leaders” – but for Frank Jernigan, one of the best features is the “engineering” button on the house phone.

“If you have a stopped up toilet or a leak, you just hit the button and someone comes up and fixes the problem within 15 minutes,” the retired Google engineer and owner of two units (one for himself and his husband, another for his husband’s father) said of the building he has called home since 2011.

It’s a nice touch, but residents like Jernigan are now facing an engineering problem that cannot be solved with a simple button.

The 58-story structure – the tallest residential building in San Francisco and, according to developers, the tallest reinforced concrete structure in the western US – has sunk 16 inches since its completion in 2008, and has tilted at least two inches toward the north-west. […]