Would you live in a highrise that was slowly tipping over?

For the record, there has never been a catastrophic failure by overturning of a high rise building. With the possible exception of the WTC towers on 9/11, no skyscraper has ever fallen over in an uncontrolled manner.

But there could always be a first time.

Enter the Millennium Tower in San Francisco.

screen_20shot_202016-08-01_20at_201-59-34_20pm-0

Opened in 2009, the 58-story condo tower has sunk nearly a foot, and actually leaning 6 inches off plumb at the top.

Engineers are mixed on the exact amount the building has settled, but it is hard to argue with gravity. Take a look at one condo owner’s experiment with marbles:

According to the Associated Press:

The tower’s troubles are apparent in its five-floor underground garage, where Porsches and Lamborghinis sit near walls bearing floor-to-ceiling cracks, many bracketed by stress gauges to measure growth.

http://www.startribune.com/tilting-sinking-san-francisco-high-rise-raises-alarm/398136891/

grand1

This is shaping up to be the exact plot of the 1984 novel “Skyscraper” by Robert Byrne. It’s a fun (and naively┬ápre-War on Terror) account of an overly-ambitious real estate tycoon who builds a shoddily-constructed highrise and tries to escape as it collapses around him. The hero of the story is a plucky civil engineer who tries to raise the alarm at the last minute. It’s my kind of story for sure, but a little far-fetched.

Unless…

41i6hbswakl-_sx271_bo1204203200_

Dodson and other residents blame developers for what they say is a flawed design. The tower’s foundation, for instance, uses piles driven 60 to 90 feet into landfill, rather than the pricier option of going down at least 240 feet to bedrock.