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October 29, 2020

SF High Rises Dig Deeper These Days

San Francisco buyers looking for condo in a newer-construction high rise in downtown San Francisco have a better chance of purchasing a property that has a foundation which reaches down into bedrock, thanks to city requirements and guidelines adopted a decade ago.

The San Francisco Business Times reports (paywall) that the city pursued what’s called the Tall Buildings Study after it was revealed that the 2009-built Millennium Tower was leaning and tilting. The study explored strategies to address the seismic issues of tall downtown buildings, writes SF Business Times’ Neil Gonzales. (The Millennium does not reach bedrock.)

Sixteen tall buildings were constructed downtown between 2010 and 2020, reports Gonzales, with six of them drilling down to bedrock—181 Fremont, the two Oceanwide Centers, Salesforce Tower, Park Tower at 250 Howard and the Four Seasons at 706 Mission.

The city has guidelines for the tall buildings that didn’t reach bedrock when they were constructed. Owners are required to monitor structural movement over a ten-year span and submit an annual report to the city. Regulations also require geotechnical reports for building construction and foundation design.

I believe that it should also be mandatory for sales offices in tall buildings to disclose whether the foundation reaches bedrock. That factor can definitely make or break whether a buyer moves forward with a purchase.

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