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New towers distinguish themselves as luxury construction continues its roll.

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The building was designed by Arquitectonica.

High-End Towers Fuel Increase in Construction Spending

Construction spending in New York City (NYC) grew 26% in 2014 to US$36 billion, with luxury residential towers leading the way, Bloomberg reported, citing a study from the New York Building Congress. Overall, residential construction increased 73% to US$11.9 billion. A significant chunk of that can be attributed to expensive Manhattan towers such as Extell Development’s Nordstrom Tower (ELEVATOR WORLD, March 2015). Spending on residential construction exceeded expectations, marking the first time it has surpassed US$7 billion. There is concern, however, that there will be inadequate housing for average- or even high-income buyers, since many of the units coming on line are affordable only for the super-rich. Also, the number of new NYC housing units created in 2014 fell short at 20,329, versus more than 30,000 created annually from 2005-2008.

CTBUH Brings 2015 Conference to NYC

Motivations and mechanisms driving multinational investment in skyscrapers around the world and the technology that makes such construction possible will be among topics examined during the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) 2015 International Conference in NYC on October 26-30 at the Grand Hyatt (www.ctbuh2015.com). ThyssenKrupp Elevator, Schindler, KONE and Otis’ parent company, United Technologies, are among this year’s sponsors. In selecting NYC as the host city, CTBUH observed:

“After a post-recession hiatus in tall-building construction in many countries lasting several years, numerous cities in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Australia are again resurgent. Nowhere is this more evident than in New York, where several new urban typologies are developing simultaneously.”

One Vanderbilt Changed Again, Approved

Previously modified to 1,450 ft. and 67 stories (EW, December 2014), One Vanderbilt is now to stand 1,501 ft. and 63 stories. Called by the New York Post “the tallest skyscraper project ever proposed in east Midtown” NYC, the supertall was approved unanimously by the City Council Zoning Subcommittee in May, as city officials revealed details of a plan that will yield US$220 million for improvements in and around Grand Central Station.

The project proposal now includes two new “transit halls,” public restrooms and improved connections between existing subway lines and the under-construction East Side Access project. The halls come with more entrances and exits, all of which are expected to decrease commuter congestion for the 1.3 million people who ride the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines daily. The work is to eventually link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Station and rezone wide swaths of east Midtown. More approvals are required but expected to be easily gained. The tower is expected to bring the city US$49.7 million in real-estate taxes annually.

Top-Heavy Tower Planned in Financial District

A 40-story, top-heavy tower with rooftop trees is planned at 75-83 Nassau Street in NYC’s Financial District, New York YIMBY reported. It is being developed by Lexin Capital and was designed by ODA. Featuring a variegated façade with plenty of windows, it is set to stand 498 ft. tall and have retail on the first four floors with the remainder of its space divided among nearly 200 residences. Construction is slated to start in 2016. As of May, no completion date had been announced.

Second-Largest Residential Building in Manhattan Planned

New renderings show the design of a multifaceted structure that will stand 440 ft. tall and have 42 floors at 606 West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York, New York YIMBY reported. Arquitectonica designed the structure, which, upon completion in 2017, is set to become the second-largest residential building in Manhattan. Developed by TF Cornerstone and part of a growing number of new residences in the West 57th Street area, the structure will have 1.2 million sq. ft. and more than 1,000 apartments.

Full-Floor Gardens for Slim East Side Skyscraper

A 41-story, 600-ft.-tall residential skyscraper on the East Side of Manhattan planned by Triangle Assets features six full-floor sky gardens, along with a private, full-floor garden for the penthouse, New York Daily News reported. Designed by ODA, the slim skyscraper will be supported by its core, rather than by structural support at its perimeter to preserve views. Pending city approval, developers hope to start construction in September and complete the building by 2017. Floorplates will be considerably smaller than those of fellow superslims such as 432 Park Avenue (EW, May and March 2015), and prices will be high.

NAEC Launches Management Program

The National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) has launched its Vertical Transportation Management Program, a personnel-development course created by industry professionals specifically for the vertical-transportation industry. It is intended for those seeking a comprehensive grounding in the elevator industry, including technical and general business training. For more information or to sign up, contact NAEC at phone: (770) 760-9660, email: wendy@naec.org or website: www.naec.org.

Bryco Controls to Represent Carlo Gavazzi

Carlo Gavazzi Inc. has appointed Bryco Controls, Inc. as its sales representative firm for the Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida Panhandle territories. Bryco Controls has been in business for more than 33 years and can be contacted through its website www.BrycoControls.com.

Acquisitions

Consultancy, rack-and-pinion specialist grow.

ATIS Continues Trend

ATIS Elevator Inspections, a subsidiary of American Testing & Inspection Services in St. Louis, has acquired local competitor Midwest Elevator Inspection Services (MEIS). It is the fifth acquisition in the last year for ATIS. Led by Kirk Pohl since 2006, MEIS provides test witnessing, inspection and certification services for elevators, escalators, moving walks and other mechanized conveyances. It has eight QEIs and two office employees, and is among the largest elevator inspection companies in the region. ATIS Chairman Chip Smith remarked:

“We’ve been courting [Pohl] for over two years and are extremely pleased to have closed on this acquisition. MEIS was ATIS’s most formidable competitor in the Midwest, and we are excited about the opportunities that exist by combining forces. This is great news for our employees, customers and the riding public.”

McDonough Elevator Buys Denver Company

Houston-based McDonough Elevator Sales & Rentals, a division of McDonough Corp. that specializes in the industrial rack-and-pinion elevator market, recently announced its acquisition of Rack and Pinion Elevator Service, based in Denver. McDonough said it plans to retain management, staff and existing contracts of the 40-year-old business, described by McDonough Elevator President Joe Galatas as “the premier industrial provider in the area, known for its customer focus and knowledge of all types of rack-and-pinion equipment.” Operations will remain in Denver.

Construction Starts on Seattle Tower

Construction has begun on the 41-story Potala Tower in downtown Seattle, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported. Being built on the site of an old transmission shop, the tower is to house approximately 140 hotel rooms and 340 apartments. The developer is a former monk from Tibet, and a 2014 groundbreaking featured chanting monks and actor Tom Skerritt. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

Access is an issue in Florida, Ohio.

Cincinnati Trying to Improve Inspectors’ Access to Elevators

Cincinnati is trying to find ways to improve access to elevators for its six inspectors, The Enquirer reported. The effort comes after a firefighter lost his life falling down an elevator shaft in March, when it was found that 48 of the city’s 2,918 elevators had failed inspections and three dozen had not been inspected in years, due to the city not being granted entry by property owners. The city is considering adding teeth to its current access law, which penalizes building owners who deny inspectors access by giving them the equivalent of a minor traffic ticket. The issue is complicated by the fact it is often hard to ascertain who owns a property at any given time, resulting in inspection notices being sent to the wrong addresses and never reaching the actual owners.  

Fire-Access Elevator Requirements Tightened in Florida

Providing a greater number of stronger fire-access elevators with backup power in high-rise buildings is among changes to the Florida Building Code that were set to go into effect in June, the News-Press reported in May. Buildings with occupied floors 120 ft. or higher must have at least two fire-access elevators if the building has two elevators or more. If such a building has only one elevator, that elevator must be fire-access. Builders fear such changes will increase construction costs, and state officials expected a flurry of permit activity to occur prior to the changes being enacted.

Only One Elevator Inspector  in Guam

There is only one certified elevator inspector for the U.S. Territory of Guam, and its Department of Public Works is looking to change that by offering an accelerated certification process, KUAM News reported. In May, the department administered tests and expected to issue certificates within a few weeks. At 159,358, Guam’s population is small, but it is a popular tourist destination with numerous hotel high rises. The Pacific Rim island is easily accessible from many parts of Asia.

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