Tall-building construction remains hot.

The new Atlanta Stadium will have a first-of-its-kind retractable roof.

Details on 2 WTC Emerge

Rupert Murdoch’s media companies News Corp. and 21st Century Fox are considering building a joint headquarters in a new 88-story building at the World Trade Center (WTC), The New York Times reported in April. According to an ELEVATOR WORLD source, a deal has been struck with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry A. Silverstein involving a move by the companies from Midtown Manhattan, New York, to a new tower downtown, the construction of which would complete the rebuilding of the WTC site. The 80-story 3 WTC is under construction nearby.

To be known as 2 WTC, the office building would be built on the Port Authority’s land and developed by Silverstein. News Corp. and 21st Century Fox reportedly require a substantial revision to the long-planned 2 WTC designed by Norman Foster. Though initially intended to have 3.1 million sq. ft. of area, the companies want the base of what is now a cruciform-shaped tower with a diamond crown to accommodate television studios. Their plans reportedly include occupying approximately half of that space and making design changes using their own architect.

Skinny Supertall Inches Upward

What New York YIMBY describes as a future architectural icon in Midtown New York City (NYC) has gotten taller as it nears its 2017 completion. New York YIMBY recently announced a new set of renderings for the SHoP-designed residential tower 111 West 57th Street (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2014) that depict a 1,428-ft.-tall building several feet taller than a previous estimate and taller than 432 Park Avenue, which topped out recently at 1,432 ft. (EW, May 2014) as the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. The 60-ft. width of 111 West 57th will make it among the thinnest skyscrapers in the world. The units will be high-end, starting at US$14 million.

East 88th Street Tower Will Be Tallest in Neighborhood

A 31-story, 521-ft.-tall tower designed and developed by DDG promises to be the tallest in its East Side neighborhood, New York YIMBY reported. Featuring a handmade brick façade with cantilever and crown, the 180 East 88th Street building will house approximately 50 high-ceiled residences. A tenement on the site has been demolished, and completion is roughly anticipated in 2018. 


Old Penn Station Escalator Taken in New Direction

Amtrak, owner of New York Penn Station, fixed a busy escalator at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street in Manhattan, New York, so it can run in both directions to aid traffic flow while other work is taking place, The Wall Street Journal reported in March. The unit had moved only downward for approximately 50 years and required slight repair and modernization, such as shortening a stretched step chain and replacing some electrical components, to be prepared for its new task.

The newly reversible escalator was then able to run upward early in the day and downward for the evening commute, while its upward-traveling counterpart was under repair. Pat Welch, president of the consulting firm Vertical Transportation Excellence in Philadelphia, explained that there are often problems with older escalators changing directions, because their parts have worn in the same pattern over the years. Major repairs on the upward unit were expected to be complete by May, when work on the down escalator was planned to begin.

Queens to Get New Tallest

A 77-story, 915-ft.-tall skyscraper has been proposed for Queens, New York. To be the tallest building in New York City outside Manhattan, what The New York Times calls a “glassy giant” is to rely on land and air rights from the adjacent historic Queens Clock Tower and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to reach its full height. Developers Property Markets Group and the Hakim Organization plan to keep the existing historical tower as an office building for technology firms and promised to pay for a park of up to 1.25 acres on the land controlled by the transportation authority. The 930-unit apartment building was designed by SLCE Architects and awaits final approvals.

Wurtec Celebrates 30 Years,  Expansion with  Open House

Customers, suppliers, friends and family joined Wurtec, Inc. on March 18 for an open house at the company’s newly expanded 63,000-sq.-ft. Toledo, Ohio, facility to celebrate 30 years in business and an expansion. Activities included demonstrations of Wurtec’s new machining mill and Elevator Concepts by Wurtec’s residential elevator. Steve Wurtec, Wurtec president, described the event as “a great day surrounded by great people, and I feel that it has provided some energy for the organization that will last the entire year.”

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Happenings

OEM receives award and acquires a New Orleans company.

Carson Elevator Purchased

ThyssenKrupp Elevator has acquired Carson Elevator, one of the leading elevator companies in the New Orleans area with 23 employees. The move continues ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s expansion strategy of buying small and medium-sized companies. Rich Hussey, president and CEO of ThyssenKrupp North America, remarked:

“Carson Elevator has an excellent reputation with its customers. Its strong, local presence provides a solid platform from which to intensify our activities in the region in the future.”

Hydraulic Fluid Is “Top Product of the Year”

ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s enviromax®, a 99% petroleum-free hydraulic fluid, was recently named a Top Product of the Year by the trade publication Environmental Leader. ThyssenKrupp Elevator describes enviromax as “the elevator industry’s first performance-improving, 100% recyclable, vegetable-based hydraulic fluid for use in hydraulic elevators.” It was codeveloped with BioBlend Renewable Resources, LLC, specifically for the North American market. ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s Vice President of Sustainability Brad Nemeth said that besides offering building owners a sustainable alternative, enviromax can extend the life of an elevator since it “reduces energy consumption and the possibility of temperature-related performance issues.”

Impressive Supertall Proposed in Chicago

The first look at an approximately 1,200-ft.-tall, 93-story hotel/condominium tower proposed for Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood was released in April and reported by Curbed Chicago. In its current incarnation, Wanda Vista consists of three main tiers with a reflective façade. It would have approximately 400 residences and 170 hotel rooms, in addition to parking and a ballroom. Studio Gang is the lead architect, and joint developers are Magellan Development of Chicago and Dalian Wanda Group of China. If built, it would become the third-tallest building in Chicago behind the Willis and Trump towers.

Lerch Bates Stays Busy

Consultant lands major stadium contract and hires a regional manager.

Company to Design System for New Atlanta Stadium

Lerch Bates Inc. has been hired to design the vertical-transportation system for the US$1.4-billion stadium being built in downtown Atlanta. Boasting a first-of-its-kind, eight-piece, retractable roof that mimics a camera shutter, the stadium will replace the Georgia Dome as the new home of the National Football League’s (NFL) Atlanta Falcons, in addition to a yet-to-be-named professional soccer team. The complex is scheduled for completion in 2017. Lerch Bates West Vice President Jeff Marsh observed:

“The facility is a highly creative sports and entertainment complex that will help ensure the city continues to attract world-class sporting and cultural events. Lerch Bates is honored to be part of the team designing and constructing this new landmark for one of America’s leading cities.”

Maass to Lead L.A. Office

Lerch Bates has hired Melanie Maass to lead its Los Angeles (L.A.) office. She has more than 17 years of experience, including serving as sales, service and modernization manager for Otis in the San Francisco Bay and greater L.A./Orange County markets. She designed data-driven methods to increase company profits, and provided training and support to the company’s service, new-business and modernization departments. She holds a BS in Business Administration and International Business from San Francisco State University, an MA in Humanities and Leadership from the New College of California and a PsyD in Organization Development from the California School of Professional Psychology.


Managers, apprentices join companies.

Century Adds Products Manager

Houston-based Century Elevators, Inc. has added Barney Hanna to its team as GEDA Products Manager in a new division focusing on scaffold-related lifting products. Hanna comes to Century with nearly 35 years of sales experience in dealer and distributor development. He has held various roles at Upright Scaffold USA, LLC, American Platform & Scaffolding and Power Climber. He is also a member of the Scaffold and Access Industry Association Board of Directors and a founding member of the ANSI A92.10 and A92.9 Standard Development Committees. He holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Paula Manning, vice president and partner of Century Elevators, commented:

“We are excited to have [Hanna] on board and looking forward to growing our company with this new scaffold-related division. [Hanna] is a true professional and a respected veteran of the industry; we are fortunate to have him on our team. We expect great things.”

WAGO Appoints Industry Manager

WAGO has announced the appointment of Brian Ley to the position of industry manager — transportation. He joins WAGO after an extensive career in technical and operations management, engineering and consulting. In addition to a BS in Electrical Engineering and Lean Six Sigma certification, Ley is also an active member of the American Public Transportation Association and will represent WAGO on two American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way committees.

Kings III Names Guise Head of Palm Beach Area Business

Kings III Emergency Communications has named Jonathan Guise Business Development manager for Palm Beach and Martin and Collier counties in Florida. He has more than 10 years of medical and pharmaceutical sales experience. While attending Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, he played National Collegiate Athletic Association golf. He also studied abroad at Silliman University in the Philippines.

New Hires at TEI

TEI Group has hired 10 new apprentices, some of whom are second-generation industry men. Their names are: Eric Bevilacqua, William Jackson, Bryan Doremus, Matthew Szabo, Christopher Heller, Brian Gregorio, Albert Russo, Nicholas Mastri, Terry Ryan and Kyle Tormey. In welcoming them, CEO Mark Gregorio and Senior Executive Vice Presidents John Fichera and Mike Staub emphasized the importance of each employee continuing his education to be ready to meet the demands of the industry for years to come. They also expressed the imperative to work safely and achieve career advancement through required National Elevator Industry Educational Program training and the apprenticeship program offered by the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local #1.

PNC Tower Mockup Saves Green

PNC Financial Services is constructing its future high-rise headquarters in Pittsburgh with the goal of making it the “greenest” skyscraper in the world, American Banker reported. The 40-story, 800,000-sq.-ft. building is expected to consume 50% less energy than a typical office building. It is designed by Gensler and expected to open in the fall.

PNC tested the ecologically friendly technologies meant for the tower in a 1,200-sq.-ft. prototype of the building unveiled in March. The company stated it is the first commercial office building mockup of such a scale in the U.S. and enabled it to resolve issues that would have been costly and time-consuming to fix on the tower site, yielding more than US$5 million. The mockup is fitted out like a normal office complete with employees, who experiment with such aspects as how many perforations in the automated blinds are ideal for daylight infiltration without glare. It enabled the testing of such systems as an advanced climate-control system, a double-skin façade, a solar chimney, automated blinds and an energy-efficient lighting system. Problems found include certain wall incompatibilities with the building’s self-cooling mechanism. In addition to early rectification of such issues, proofs of concepts seen in the mockup enabled more bids to contribute to the money saved.

Commenting on PNC’s claim that its new home will be the greenest skyscraper in the world, Chief Product Officer of the U.S. Green Building Council Scot Horst said, “I think they have a legitimate claim. They have been a leader in this green building space for a long time.” Horst referenced PNC’s Firstside Center, which opened as an operations center in 2000, as one of the first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®)-certified buildings:

“It was an early icon for a lot of the principles we’ve been espousing in LEED ever since: an open floor plan, a lot of natural light coming into the space reducing artificial light, raised floors so you can move things around, [and] superior orientation to the sun, so less artificial cooling and heating.”

58-Story Condo Tower for Austin

The Independent, a 58-story, 685-ft.-tall condominium tower, is planned in downtown Austin, Texas, at the corner of West Third Street and West Avenue, the Austin Business Journal reported. It is part of a western downtown redevelopment effort that has included other tall buildings. As of April, no timeframe had been announced. Designed by Austin’s Rhode: Partners, the tower will resemble a Jenga® game in that it will have various sections stacked atop one another. Should it be built, it will be the tallest building in Austin and the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River. 

Philadelphia Projects Move Forward

Schindler and Otis land big jobs.

Schindler to Outfit Comcast Building with 54 Units

Schindler has been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract by L.F. Driscoll Construction Managers & Builders to outfit the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center in Philadelphia (ELEVATOR WORLD, March 2014) with 54 units. The order consists of 31 7000 high-rise gearless, 11 mid-rise machine-room-less and two 330A hydraulic elevators, and 10 9300AE escalators. The system will utilize Schindler’s PORT destination-control technology. Upon completion, planned for the first quarter of 2018, the building will be the tallest in the U.S. outside of New York City and Chicago. The US$1.2-billion, 59-story structure will stand 1,121 ft. tall and house offices and a 222-room Four Seasons hotel. Schindler President Greg Ergenbright stated:

“The Comcast Innovation & Technology Center is a prime example of the integrated, sustainable urban environments that Schindler is proud to support. Schindler’s proven commitment to safety, reliability and sustainability, along with our innovative technology, makes us an ideal choice for this cutting-edge building.”

Otis Wins Philadelphia W Contract

Otis has been hired to provide and maintain 12 elevators for a new W Hotel being built in Philadelphia (ELEVATOR WORLD, April 2015). The order consists of 10 SkyriseTM and two Gen2® units. The 52-story, 700-room project is scheduled for completion in 2017. Tudor Perini Building Corp. of Sylmar, California, is the general contractor.

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