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The Big Apple sees a surge in planned and under-construction projects and elevator contracts.

47-Floor Mixed-Use Tower for NYC

In January, the 47-floor, 595-ft.-tall mixed-use building 5 Beekman Street was poised to take shape in Lower Manhattan in New York City (NYC), New York Yimby reported, with cranes on site and foundation work underway. Designed by Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, the building is expected to house 288 hotel rooms and 69 residences. As of January, renderings had not yet been released, but the building is expected to be thin. Estimated completion is late 2015 or early 2016.

Hudson Spire Plans Unveiled

Plans for developer Massey Knakal’s Hudson Spire were revealed in February, with a rendering by MJM + A Architects for the 108-floor building. To rise at 435-447 Tenth Avenue in New York City, the building’s planned 1,800-plus-ft. height would make it the tallest in North America. It would offer 1.22 million sq. ft. of mixed-use space. Expected to anchor a new business district, the nearby 7 Line of the subway’s 34th Street extension is set to open this year. The site adjoins the massive underway Hudson Yards project (ELEVATOR WORLD, November 2013).

New Mixed-Used Tower Going Up in Queens

Construction started in January on 23-10 Queens Plaza, a 44-floor, 481-ft.-tall mixed-used tower in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York, New York Yimby reported. Property Markets Group released renderings, which show a sleek, minimalist building considerably taller than its neighbors. The latest plans include renovation of an existing warehouse into loft and parking space, and incorporation of residential and office units in the main tower. Designed by SLCE, the building is expected to be finished in 2017.

GT in Times Square Hotel

Global Tardif (GT) announced in February that it won a contract to equip the RIU Plaza New York Times Square Hotel in New York City with 10 elevators (seven traction, two machine-room-less and one hydraulic unit). The order includes six gearless passenger elevators with a maximum speed of 1,000 fpm and one service elevator with a maximum speed of 700 fpm. The 600-room hotel is planned to open in mid 2015 at 8th Avenue and 46th Street in the Broadway District.

Development Would Redefine Brooklyn Neighborhood

Renderings in an environmental impact statement show a five-tower, mixed-use development planned on the site of an old Domino sugar factory in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, New York Yimby reports. The development would consist of towers ranging in height from 16 stories for the renovated factory to more than 40 stories and would cut a striking silhouette on the Williamsburg waterfront. The project has seen several stops and starts and is now in the first stages of the approval process for its latest iteration. Full build out is not expected until the 2020s.

Planned Land Purchase Paves  Way for LIRR Elevators

A planned land purchase by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is to pave the way for installation of elevators at the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)’s Flushing-Main Street station in Queens, New York, the Queens Chronicle reported. In January, MTA’s board gave the go-ahead to buy the property, occupied by a grocery store. If the sale is completed, it will allow for construction of elevators on both sides of the tracks, making the station handicapped accessible.

Hires and Transitions

Several elevator-related companies shift responsibilities and bring on new talents and skills in the first quarter of the year.

New Leadership for ATIS Elevator Inspections

ATIS Elevator Inspections, a St. Louis-based subsidiary of American Testing & Inspection Services (ATIS), has announced J.A. Marchack as its president and CEO. Marchack started his career with Chenoweth-Kern Elevator Service in 1971, which was acquired by Montgomery Elevator in 1981. In 1983, he joined National Elevator Inspection Services, where he served as president from 1989 to 2012. He helped build one of the largest elevator-inspection businesses and played an instrumental role in developing many of the country’s third-party inspection systems. Marchack has served on several elevator safety boards and is currently on the Missouri and Georgia advisory boards.

Colin Smith, president and chief operating officer of ATIS Elevator’s parent company, commented on Marchack:

“In addition to accelerating growth at ATIS Elevator, having [Marchack] on board will enable us to get more aggressive with ATIS’ strategy to expand into new service verticals within the broader testing, inspection and certification industry.”

Wurtec Residential Elevator Sales Manager

Christopher Dodds has been hired by Wurtec as National Sales manager of the firm’s residential-elevator manufacturing company, Elevator Concepts by Wurtec (ECLW) in Riverview, Michigan. In addition to this role, Dodds will be supporting Wurtec product sales as it rolls out several new products this year, including a car-operating panel. With his years of field experience, industry knowledge and technical background, both as an installer and licensed inspector, Dodds is expected to make immediate contributions. Dodds said of his move:

“Wurtec and the associated companies are poised for rapid growth within North America, and I am excited to become a part of it. One of my primary goals at ECLW will be expanding the current product line through the use of innovative and technologically advanced elevator components. Elevator Concepts has an excellent team of talented individuals who are ready and willing to analyze everything, from the way the components are made to the way the components are installed.”

Dodds has worked as a construction apprentice, maintenance mechanic, repair mechanic, troubleshooter, construction mechanic, modernization mechanic, modernization supervisor, project manager, construction manager and, finally, director of Construction of Modernization, all at Kencor, Inc. He is a Certified Elevator Technician (CET®) supervisor, QEI, and American Welding Society-certified welder in all welding disciplines. He is licensed as a State of Delaware master special-purpose elevator electrician and State of Maryland elevator mechanic. He also owns elevator inspection and consulting firm Liberty Elevator Experts, which he founded in fall 2013.

Draka Hires OEM Sales Engineer

Tracey A. Fackler has joined Draka Elevator as Sales engineer/OEM Division. He will be tasked with account management, sales and engineering coordination, and business development with the industry’s OEMs. Prior to joining Draka, Fackler worked for Schindler as a New Installation Sales representative. Prior to that, he spent 12 years in sales, marketing, engineering and management for Otis.

Fackler reports to Eric Lazear, Draka director of Sales/Americas. He holds a BS in Economics from Nyack College in New York and an MBA from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania.

Lerch Bates Promotes McMasters

Lerch Bates Inc. has promoted Lance McMasters to business line manager, Façade Access Consulting. He was previously district manager, and has worked on high-rise projects including the 2,717-ft.-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the 2,086-ft.-tall Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China, and the 1,263-ft.-tall Capital Market Authority tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He will remain based in San Francisco. He is co-chair of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s working group on façade access and sits on the ASME A120.1 “Safety Requirements for Powered Platforms and Traveling Ladders and Gantries for Building Maintenance” code committee. Stated Lerch Bates President and CEO Bart Stephan:

“[McMasters] has made exceptional contributions to Lerch Bates during his previous seven years with the firm, and I’m pleased to announce his new role. I look forward to the exciting impact he will make on our company and with our esteemed clients.”

Genesis Promotes Smith to Vice President/Commercial Business

Genesis Elevator Co., Inc., a commercial and residential mobility sales and service specialist in Kennesaw, Georgia, has promoted Stewart Smith to vice president/Commercial Business. Smith began his career in the industry in 2002. In 2009, Smith joined Genesis, where President Jay Arntzen said he was “instrumental in growing the commercial new-equipment business.” In his new role, Smith adds commercial service, repair and modernization to his responsibilities. Smith is a graduate of the University of Georgia and earned his MBA from Kennesaw State University.

Quattro Reaches Installation Milestone

Magnetek, Inc. has announced that its Quattro® “green” energy elevator drive installed base has reached 2,000 units worldwide. Quattro drives can save as much as 25% of energy consumption when compared to silicon-controlled-rectifier-based DC drives and as much as 45% of energy consumption over motor-generator sets in gearless DC installations. The company says Quattro AC saves 42% more energy versus non-regenerative AC drives in gearless AC applications. Additionally, many utility companies offer energy-saving rebate programs for reduced peak and average power demand and for clean harmonics.

Ed Butte, director of Magnetek’s elevator-drives business, explained:

“This milestone is important, as it speaks to the commitment of elevator manufacturers and service companies to educate building owners and property managers on how Quattro’s regenerative technology can save energy in their buildings and, ultimately, save them money. . . . With the proven energy savings our Quattro DC drives have provided, we are seeing growing demand for our Quattro AC products and will soon be introducing a space-saving, compact AC Quattro unit to meet the growing need for energy savings in lower-capacity buildings.”

The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based company manufactures Quattro drives that are installed in buildings in such cities as Sydney, London, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing and Toronto.

Company Happenings

Movement and contracts in the elevator world

SnapCab Partners with Corning for Glass

In February, Corning Inc. and SnapCab Elevator Interior Systems entered a commercial agreement involving thin, lightweight, durable Corning Gorilla® Glass. SnapCab is to design Gorilla Glass into its modular wall-panel systems, which are used in residential and commercial elevators. This is the same glass that has helped protect handheld electronic devices for years and is currently used in at least 2 billion devices. Corning expects its use in interior architecture to enable new lightweight designs for elevator cabs, lobbies and conference rooms.

SnapCab maintains the combination of the glass’ durability and its own installation process will provide a look that cannot be duplicated with traditional architectural glass. Henry Dunnenberger III, business director, Corning Innovative Glass Solutions, added:

“The benefits of Gorilla Glass now extend beyond consumer electronics to offer SnapCab and [its] customers a unique architectural product that will enable true color match. Gorilla Glass is also lightweight, allowing new and refurbishment designs to operate within tight elevator weight budgets. And, because our glass is highly scratch resistant and durable, it can help protect modular wall systems from everyday bumps.”

Lift Solutions Moves

Lift Solutions recently moved into a new building in Lake Stevens, Washington. This move comes in the company’s 13th year of operation in the elevator industry and is only 1.3 mi. from its old office. The new building offers expanded office space, a larger conference room, improved phone service and room for growth.

Sales Manager Randy Payne commented, “We are extremely excited about the new office space. We will be able to work more efficiently and increase productivity to best meet our customers’ needs as a team.”

Founder and President John Castaño said, “Our goal was to create a more enjoyable working environment for every employee on our team. We believe both employees and visitors will appreciate our new office.”

The company’s new address is 1806 South Lake Stevens Road, Lake Stevens, Washington 98258. Existing phone numbers remain the same, at toll free: (888) 277-8310 and phone: (425) 249-2512.

Industry Organizations Abuzz

Education and accolades lead association news in early 2014.

Verschell Honored as Longtime Code Writer

Al Verschell was honored for his many years of service as an ASME A17 Standards Committee member on January 14 during A17 Elevator Code Week in Phoenix. Coordinated by committee member James Herrity of the U.S. Postal Service with help from Verschell’s wife, the dinner included many well wishes and gifts. Verschell is owner of Incline Consultants International Inc./Dawn Elevator Co. of Orlando. He received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Dedicated Service Award in 2006 (ELEVATOR WORLD, February 2007).

Richard A. Gregory sent EW this photo he took of Verschell during the dinner.

CTBUH Seeks Research Funding Proposals

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is soliciting proposals for its 2014 International Research Seed Funding, which will result in a US$20,000 award to be presented at the council’s 2014 International Conference in Shanghai on September 16-19. Made possible by ECADI through the Shanghai Conference Gold + Research Seed Funding Sponsorship Package, the award is intended to assist researchers in developing ideas that receive additional, more significant funding. Proposals should relate to tall-building typology or urban habitat. For a complete list of topics, download “Roadmap on the Future Research Needs of Tall Buildings” at www.ctbuh.org/roadmap. Submissions or questions should be directed to research@ctbuh.org. Deadline is May 12.

ECNY Seeks 2014 Scholarship Applicants

The Elevator Conference of New York (ECNY) is seeking high-school seniors to apply for at least two US$5,000 scholarships. Any daughter, son, stepchild or grandchild of an ECNY member is eligible. One applicant is allowed per household, and ECNY will accept applications through May 31. Should more than 10 applications be received, ECNY plans to award an additional two US$2,500 scholarships. An application may be found at website: www.ecnyweb.com.

More NAEC Education Options

The National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) recently launched its online education (eLearning) site (naec.peachnewmedia.com/store/provider/provider09.php). These new online courses, available for online purchase and perusing, are industry specific. Sessions cover a range of topics, including technical issues, maintenance, safety and codes. They may be approved for continuing-education credit toward the renewal of Certified Elevator Technician (CET®) and Certified Accessibility and Private-Residence Lift Technician (CAT®) certifications and for Elevator Mechanics Licenses in various states. The NAEC Education Committee also referenced the policy allowing mechanics with advanced experience and/or education to enter the CET Educational Program at the year-three level. To do this, contact Kathy Bell at kathy@naec.org.

Sustainability Education at NFPA Conference and Expo

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced it will hold its next conference and exposition on June 9-12 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. More than 100 education sessions, hands-on training, networking opportunities and hundreds of product displays headline the event. There will also be a new “Sustainability” conference tract, addressing green building, alternative energy sources, and associated products/technologies. For more information or to register, contact the NFPA at website: www.nfpa.org/training/nfpa-conference-and-expo.

Elevator History Book

In the book Lifted, A Cultural History of the Elevator by Andreas Bernard, the author explores how the appearance of elevators in modern growing cities changed notions of verticality and urban space. Bernard traces the quickness of the elevator’s ubiquity in large American cities and contrasts it with the much slower acceptance in European cities like Paris and Berlin. Combining technological and architectural history with the literary and cinematic, he presents new ways of looking at the elevator. The history and impact of components of an elevator system, from hoistways to interiors, are examined.

Previously only available in German, Lifted was published in English this February. It is available at www.elevatorbooks.com both as a standalone item and part of the “History of the Elevator Book Collection,” in which it is packaged with Dr. Lee Gray’s highly regarded A History of the Passenger Elevator in the 19th Century. The books include hundreds of illustrations and interesting facts that those in the elevator and building industries should  find fascinating and informative.

L.A.’s Metropolis to Include 38-Story Apartment Tower

Metropolis, a planned mixed-use development in Los Angeles, will include a 19-story hotel and a 38-floor apartment building in its first phase, GlobeSt.com reported. Construction on phase one is expected to start in the spring and be finished in mid 2016, and the US$1-billion project is expected to ultimately include retail and office space. Metropolis is a project of the U.S. arm of Chinese real-estate company The Greenland Group, which is also developing Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New York.

Positive Construction Outlook Released

Reed Construction Data has released its “2014 Construction Economic Outlook” for the U.S. market. Overall construction is expected to grow throughout the year and is tracked in each state and more than 360 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Compiled by Bernard Markstein, chief economist for Reed Construction Data and former senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders, the outlook shows an improved construction economy spread throughout 80% of the country. Potential for expanding construction is seen in 41 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Markstein summarized:

“Many pieces are falling into place for a moderately faster-growing economy. Companies are experiencing rising demand. A federal budget deal was signed into law. Residential construction continues to improve. Europe is slowly working its way out of recession.”  

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