Interesting happenings in California, Colorado and Washington
90-Story Mixed-Use Tower Would Be Denver’s Tallest
New York City’s Greenwich Realty Capital intends to build a mixed-use tower of up to 90 stories and 1,000 ft. tall in Denver’s central business district (CBD), The Denver Post reported. Located at 650 17th Street, Six Fifty 17 would house condominiums, a hotel, retail and parking within approximately one million sq. ft. It would be 286 ft. taller than Denver’s current tallest building, the 714-ft.-tall, 56-story Republic Plaza at 370 17th Street. Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, Crown Architecture and Davis Partnership Architects are responsible for the design. If all goes as planned, Greenwich will break ground in 2018.
First High Rise in Region to Have EEW-Equipped Elevators
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) has installed an early earthquake warning (EEW) system in a bank of four elevators at its headquarters, a 34-story office building at 77 Beale Street in San Francisco’s Financial District. The structure is the first high-rise building on the West Coast to have elevators equipped with immediate, automated recall. In the event of an earthquake, the four elevator cars connected to the system receive a warning signal up to one min. before shaking begins, automatically stopping at the closest floor and opening the doors. Barry Anderson, PG&E vice president of Electric Distribution, called the pilot program a “tremendous milestone” in the company’s emergency management and preparedness efforts.
Over the past year, PG&E worked with multiple entities on the project, including privately held Seismic Warning Systems, an earthquake warning developer and integrator, to install sensors and equipment. PG&E intends to expand the program to additional elevators at other offices and facilities, noting the U.S. Geological Survey stated there is a 98% chance of a 6.0-magnitude earthquake or larger hitting the San Francisco Bay Area in the next 30 years. The company stated:
“Being the first to deploy such a system on elevators in a high-rise building, PG&E needed to develop brand-new protocols, coordinate with multiple internal teams and consult with outside vendors. To become operational, the system needed to pass a safety inspection by the California division of OSHA, which it did in August.”
L.A. Theater District Condo Tower Blends Old and New
SCG America, the U.S. subsidiary of Shanghai Construction Group, plans to build Perla, a 35-story condominium tower at Broadway and Fourth Street in Los Angeles’ Broadway Theater District, the Los Angeles Times reported. SCG is the latest Chinese developer with big plans in L.A., following in the footsteps of Shanghai’s Greenland Group, which is developing Metropolis (ELEVATOR WORLD, January 2017) and Beijing’s Oceanwide Holdings, which is behind Oceanwide Plaza (EW, January 2017). While those projects are massive, mixed-use ones, Perla will primarily contain condos that start at about US$350,000 — about half the typical L.A. condo cost. The design, by CallisonRTKL, blends old and new, with a 10-story podium echoing nearby historic structures topped by a 25-story, slender, modern tower. Groundbreaking occurred in September, and the property is expected to open in 2020.
Stunning Views for New Seattle Residential Tower
Stunning views of the Space Needle, Lake Union and Elliot Bay are among features that distinguish 970 Denny Way, one of several major projects under construction in downtown Seattle, SkyRise Cities reported. Developed by Holland Partner Group and designed by Weber Thompson, the 40-story building contains approximately 460 apartments and 15,000 sq. ft. of retail. A podium takes cues from the surrounding industrial warehouses, and the building features two rooftop terraces — one atop the podium and the other on the rooftop. Glazing was going onto its lower levels in October, with successive floorplates rapidly rising.
After a Century, Seattle High Rise Retires Elevator Operators
For more than 100 years, a cadre of women and men has been taking visitors to Seattle’s historic Smith Tower for a ride, but that’s about to come to an end. With a modernization of the skyscraper’s elevators, this landmark is saying goodbye to its iconic elevator operators.
In a story posted in October by GeekWire, it is noted that Smith Tower, at one time the tallest building on the West Coast, is in the midst of a multiyear renovation begun by Unico Properties, which purchased the high rise in 2015. The building opened in 1914, and ever since, tenants have relied on smartly dressed operators to take them up and down in the manually operated cars. Soon, however, the elevators will be modernized by thyssenkrupp with new control panels, machines and more, but most notably will be the automatic operation and corresponding loss of the operators. As for their design, the cars will retain nearly all their original pieces. And, the owners plan to keep one operator, in a car that takes visitors to Smith Tower’s observation deck, to help maintain the building’s historic character. The other operators will be gone by mid 2018.