Gotham Growing

Gotham Growing
Mexican Museum Tower | Rendering by Handel Architects

New skyscrapers, regulations are on drawing board in NYC and beyond.

Otis Lands 73-Unit Hudson Yards Deal

Otis has been hired by Related Cos. to provide a 73-unit vertical transportation system to 30 Hudson Yards, a 92-story, 2.6-million-sq.-ft. office tower that is part of the massive mixed-use development taking shape on Manhattan’s West Side. The order consists of 56 SkyriseTM, five hydraulic and one geared freight elevator and 11 NCE energy-efficient escalators, all connected by the CompassPlusTM destination-management system. Tom Vining, president of Otis Americas, stated: 

“Otis is honored to supply our latest elevator and escalator products for this innovative project. We are working closely with project stakeholders to ensure that everyone who visits, works or lives at Hudson Yards benefits from our high-performing equipment that combines a superior passenger experience with green technology.” 

State Licensing for Mechanics Proposed in NY

A bill requiring elevator mechanics in New York (NY) to be state licensed has been proposed by state lawmakers, but New York City (NYC) wants to put forth its own rules on elevator safety, Time Warner Cable News reported. The move came after several high-profile accidents and what one lawmaker said are tens of thousands of entrapments in NYC. There are 60,000 elevators in NYC, and most incidents are minor. Some, however, including the 2011 incident in which a female advertising executive died, have raised alarms. Senator John Bonacic, the bill’s sponsor, said there were more than 70,000 people involved in elevator entrapments to which the NYC Fire Department responded in 2013 and 2014. International Union of Elevator Constructors spokesman Mike Halpin pointed out that even though NY has an inordinate number of elevators compared with other states, it lacks education and training. 

NYC Shifts toward Occupant-Evacuation Elevators 

A long review of codes and standards by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has prompted NYC officials to consider updating the city’s code to allow elevators to be used for evacuation during office-tower emergencies, The New York Times reports. Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 are credited with helping bring about the shift, which represents a significant break with the traditional theory that stairs should be used during emergencies. Elevators are credited with saving thousands of lives in 2 World Trade Center after 1 World Trade Center was hit. Some NYC property owners, such as developers of 3 and 4 World Trade Center, have already incorporated passenger-evacuation elevators into their projects.

54-Story Apartment Tower Planned in Long Island City

A 54-story, 580-ft.-tall apartment tower, 43-22 Queens Street, is being planned in Long Island City, New York, New York YIMBY reported. Designed by SLCE and developed by Rockrose, the structure would have ground-level retail and a raw concrete and glass exterior. The development would preserve the majority of nearby warehouses and be the third-tallest residential skyscraper in Long Island City. No completion date was announced.

Upper East Side Tower to Feature Palatial Residences

A 31-story, 469-ft.-tall tower in the early planning stages on the Upper East Side in NYC features residences averaging more than 3,000 sq. ft., New York YIMBY reported. Planned at 1558 Third Avenue (180 East 88th Street), the tower is designed by DDG. Renderings show a stone façade and large arched windows at the ground, middle and top levels. Should it be built, the tower would join several others taking shape near the new Second Avenue subway. No construction timeframe has been announced. 

Open-Air Gardens to Grace East 37th Street Condo Tower

Open-air gardens on five levels are among shared amenities in a 65-story, 700-ft.-tall condominium tower being developed by Turkish firm Nef on East 37th Street, Curbed New York reported. Designed by Perkins+Will, the tall, skinny building won an award at a property event in Cannes, France, in March, but few other details about it were released. It also features an angled, curtained wall and resident parking spaces.

Preventing Heat Loss through Elevator Shafts in NYC

A new study from the NYC branch of the U.S. Green Building Council is prompting building owners and managers to seal elevator vents to prevent heat loss through shafts and reduce power bills, The New York Times reported. The study found the amount of heat escaping from NYC’s 4,000 multifamily buildings 10 stories or higher could fill 29,000 Empire State Buildings. It costs approximately US$500-$15,000 to retrofit a building to prevent this heat loss, but property owners are expected to recover their investment, in the form of energy-bill savings, within several years. Overall, the city’s property owners could realize US$11 million in savings, while reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 30,000 mT. A recent code change allows building owners to seal elevator vents, and some property owners have already done so. 

California Projects

San Francisco, Santa Monica projects poised to move forward.

Mexican Museum Tower Set to Break Ground

Developers of a 510-ft.-tall, 44-story tower in San Francisco housing condos and the city’s Mexican Museum on the first four floors hope to break ground in July, the San Francisco Business Times reported. Designed by Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects, the project faces opposition from those who contend it will block views and cast unwanted shadows on landmarks such as Union Square. They want the height lowered to 351 ft. and could bring the issue before voters. Should it be built, 706 Mission St. would have approximately 170 condos, as well as offices. Officials at the Mexican Museum hope to move into their new location in 2018.

New Elevators for Santa Monica Parking Structures

A trio of public parking structures in Santa Monica, California, is undergoing a US$4.7-million elevator upgrade to replace nine units that date to the 1960s, the Santa Monica Lookout reported. Icon West, Inc. of Santa Monica is handling the work, and Otis is providing the elevators. The work will be done in phases to keep at least one elevator at each structure open at all times. The new, vandal-resistant elevators will be compliant with current city code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project is expected to be finished in summer 2015. 

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Factory Certified LEED Gold

ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s U.S. factory in Middleton, Tennessee, has received Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance Gold Certification. The company held a celebration at the factory on March 24. It was built in 1969 and now has utility cost savings of US$250,000. The certification is based on the following modifications:

  • Improving the air quality in the plant by increasing the amount of outside air to ventilate the space by approximately 150,000 cu. fpm, which translates to approximately 216 million cu. ft. per day.
  • A savings of 3,317,684 kWh of electricity per year
  • A building management system that will save US$140,000 annually in energy costs.
  • Low-flow fixtures and the elimination of outside irrigation by using native grasses and plants in landscaping, saving 620,000 gal. of water annually.
  • The diverting of 97% of facility waste from landfills

NEII Announces New Codes & Safety Director

The National Elevator Industry Inc. (NEII®) has appointed Kevin Brinkman to the Codes & Safety director position. He reports directly to the NEII board. Former Director Brian D. Black is now NEII Codes & Safety analyst. Brinkman has 30 years of industry experience and is president of consultancy Kevin L. Brinkman & Associates, LLC. He serves on various codes and standards committees. He was previously vice president, Engineering and Quality, for ThyssenKrupp Access Manufacturing, LLC, where he oversaw product development and safety-code compliance. 

Brinkman has extensive engineering, operations and sales experience. He has chaired the ASME A18.1 Standards Committee and the A17.1 Private Residence Elevator Committee, and served on various code and accessibility committees. Upon being named to his new position, he stated: 

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to take a leadership role within NEII, contributing to building-transportation code development from the front lines. I’ve long admired the work the organization does to provide education on industry codes and safety standards, and look forward to helping NEII realize its strong vision of safety and innovation nationwide.” 

Education Updates

Opportunities expand for those pursuing careers in the industry.

Elevator World Provides CE to Illinois

The State of Illinois has added Elevator World, Inc. as an approved continuing-education (CE) provider, joining Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Washington and, more recently, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Montana and Indiana (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2014). Elevator World representatives presented the company’s CE program and materials to the March 5 Illinois Elevator Safety Review Board meeting, where it was approved for six hours of CE credit.

NEIEP Expands College Transfer Options through RACC

The National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) announced in March that it partnered with the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium (RACC). The deal grants NEIEP graduates eligibility to receive up to 38 college credits at more than 100 accredited colleges and technical schools across the U.S. for the classroom and on-the-job training hours they completed during apprenticeship.

Begun in 2014 by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, RACC includes 104 colleges representing 387 campuses, five national registered apprenticeship programs representing 575 training centers and eight organizations that represent postsecondary institutions or registered apprenticeship programs. NEIEP wrote that the partnership will not replace its existing higher-education partnerships; rather, it will broaden the scope of transfer options for NEIEP graduates. 

While each college has the final say on the exact number of credits an incoming student will receive (based on its transfer policies and applicable laws in the state in which the college is located), RACC has used an independent curriculum review by Thomas Edison State College as a model, which assessed the NEIEP curriculum at 38 credits. A list of colleges providing transfer credit to NEIEP graduates via RACC is available at 

Towers in the Works for Jersey City, Newark

At least seven 40-story or taller towers are at various stages of development in Jersey City, New Jersey, and an approximately 80-story tower is on the drawing boards in nearby Newark, New Jersey, New York YIMBY reports. The Jersey City towers are part of the Journal Squared mixed-use project (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2014) involving multiple developers, while the Newark tower is planned as the centerpiece of the Four Corners Millennium Project being developed by RBH Group. Boasting a glittery, glassy façade, the skyscraper would be among seven mixed-use buildings in downtown Newark. It would contain residences, hotel rooms, and retail and office space. No construction dates have been announced. 

Elevator Installers Earn Most on Maine Construction Projects

Of all construction professionals in Maine, elevator installers earn the highest hourly wage on state contracts valued at more than US$50,000, Bangor Daily News reported. According to data from the state’s department of labor, elevator installers earn US$52.32 per hour, compared with electricians, who earn US$24.25, and crane operators, who earn US$20. Elevator installers have been Maine’s top construction earners since 2009.

Georgia Hospitals Work to Keep Elevators Healthy 

Missing emergency-rescue keys, broken alarm buttons, worn electrical carbon brushes and inadequate backup power are among elevator violations found at three hospitals and a health-system campus in Augusta, Georgia, in 2014, The Augusta Chronicle reported. Although all 117 elevators within the system passed inspection, approximately one-third of them had at least one violation. Hospital officials said the problems are being addressed and that a US$1.25-million upgrade of four of the elevators that had worn electrical carbon brushes and weak battery backup promises to help toward that goal. They said the hospital system takes elevator maintenance very seriously and addresses problems as quickly as possible.  

Residential Elevators Recalled

A line of hydraulic residential elevators was recalled in March by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, numerous news outlets, including Consumer Affairs, reported. The Canada-manufactured elevators, sold by a South Carolina company to contractors and homebuilders, prompted three complaints about being able to operate with gates open, including an instance in which a 10-year-old Maryland boy suffered a severe brain injury. Approximately 240 units were recalled. Consumers were asked to stop using the elevators and contact the South Carolina company for a free repair.   🌐 

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