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Three High Rises for Connecticut

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In January, Meriden, Connecticut, and its housing authority applied for a federal grant to raze and redevelop the downtown Mills Memorial Apartments into 1,000-plus residential units and commercial space. City Council Majority Leader Brian Daniels described the city as “land-poor,” a situation that has led to a proposed three mixed-use high-rise buildings on the site. Hoped to revitalize the district, the towers are each to be around 10 stories high. To further the project, property would have to be rezoned, and at least 2,000 parking spaces would need to be created.

Schindler Port in New Orleans, Baltimore

The Hyatt Regency in New Orleans recently reopened after a US$275-million redesign, which included the installation of Schindler’s Personal Occupant Requirement Terminal (PORT) technology on eight high-rise elevators. Each guest room is automatically programmed upon check-in and provides customized elevator access. When a guest uses his or her room key at the PORT device, an elevator is automatically called to take the guest to the appropriate hotel floor. In February, Schindler completed a PORT installation for eight high-rise elevators in the 2 Hopkins Plaza in Baltimore. The 22-story office building is one of the first to receive PORT technology in Maryland.

Target Proposes Los Angeles Commercial Development

Retailer Target has completed an environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed project on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Originally approved by the city in 2010, the project was shelved due to neighborhood concerns over height. A 35-ft. height limit is placed on commercial developments, though the project is to reach a height of around 78 ft. The retail project would include 194,749 sq. ft. on three levels and be comprised of ground- and second-floor parking, a 163,862-sq.-ft. Target retail store and another 30,887 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. Escalators and a rooftop terrace would also be included. Besides a “no project” alternative, the EIR proposes four other options for building a Target on the site, including expanding the development to include a residential space.

Maxton Website Update

Maxton Manufacturing Co. launched an updated website (www.maxtonvalve.com) in January featuring numerous improvements. Registered users can subscribe to the Maxton newsletter; utilize an updated valve-sizing calculator and translation tool; check the “Tech Tips Wiki” for hydraulic elevator-system and valve tips, ideas and methods, and even share their own with the community. According to Karl Keller, marketing director for Maxton, “Our main focus was to add value by making our website easier to navigate, locate information faster, provide timely customer notifications and access 24/7. In addition, the e-commerce and shopping experience flows from several points in the technical information to product solutions to point of purchase seamlessly.” 

Technical product information can be quickly viewed or downloaded, including the catalog (available in sections or its entirety). Although it’s not a mobile-device website, it works well on smartphones using the major platforms. This allows elevator mechanics in the field to use the valve calculator or troubleshooting features on the jobsite.  

D.C. Metro Escalator Replacement

In January, the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) board met to discuss a number of topics, including a strategy for the repair and replacement of metro station escalators. Previously, WMATA announced it would mostly rehabilitate old, semi-functional metro station escalators and only replace 12 or fewer units. At the board meeting, WMATA announced it now plans to replace 94 escalators, in addition to rehabilitating 98. Richard Sarles, WMATA general manager, told the metro board that it makes more sense from a technical standpoint to replace many of the old units and rehabilitate fewer.

Chicago Tower Seeks LEED

The Habitat Co. has started construction on its 43-story luxury high rise located at 360 West Hubbard Street in Chicago. Expected to be completed in late 2013, the tower is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) Silver certification. The building will include 29,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor amenities, and is being designed by Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz & Associates.

Vieew Meeting In New York

The Vertical Initiative for Elevator Escalator Women (VIEEW) is holding its first regional meeting on April 18 at Villa Barone Manor in New York City. To be held in conjunction with the Elevator Conference of New York (ECNY) Showcase, the event will include a presentation by Liên Randle, San Diego branch manager for Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc., titled “Elevatoring 101.”

Maxton Contributes To Training Consortium

In February, Maxton Manufacturing Co. contributed its elevator control valve technical and training materials to the Elevator/Escalator Transit Consortium, a comprehensive partnership of five U.S. transit agencies, to develop and organize training materials and systems for a transit elevator/escalator maintenance apprenticeship program. In addition to providing the consortium with access to its training materials, Maxton offered to provide onsite training for instructors. The new Maxton training materials will be integrated into the consortium’s shared resources, including lesson plans, instructor and participant guides, course books and presentation materials.

The consortium is made up of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transportation, the Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, New York City Transit and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and their local unions. It is operated through the Transportation Learning Center, a national nonprofit labor-management partnership based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Its project is underway, with full content expected to be finished by August 2013.

UTC Announces New Otis President

United Technologies Corp. (UTC), parent company of Otis, has announced the appointment of Pedro Baranda as president of Otis. Baranda succeeds Didier Michaud-Daniel, who is returning to France to become CEO of Bureau Veritas. Baranda most recently served as president of Otis’ South Europe and Middle East area.

He started his career at UTC in 1993 as a research engineer in Madrid. In 1997, he transferred to the Otis Engineering Center in Farmington, Connecticut. Baranda was appointed director of new equipment for Otis Mexico in 2001 and in 2002 became managing director of Otis Portugal. In 2004, he was named general manager of Otis Spain, and in 2006, he was appointed managing director and became a member of the Otis Executive Committee.

In 2000, Baranda was among a team of Otis engineers who earned the George Mead Medal, considered the highest engineering honor given by UTC. The award is for contributions to the development of Otis’ Gen2® elevator system. Baranda holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oviedo in Spain, a doctorate in engineering from Rutgers University and a Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

CTBUH Launches Resource Website

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has debuted The Skyscraper Center (www.skyscrapercenter.com), a comprehensive resource for data and information on tall buildings. The site provides detailed profiles and images of almost every completed building in the world taller than 200 m, in addition to other buildings in various stages of development. The center spotlights the latest trends in skyscraper construction, and its homepage features a map tool, which generates facts and lists on tall buildings. In addition, the site makes it easy to track the latest news and changes to the database.

In the coming months, CTBUH plans to add new elements such as city and country profiles, including detailed graphs and statistics on specific regions. The council encourages people to interact on the site and submit project images and information. The site was designed for professionals and non professionals with an interest in skyscrapers.

The Hub: 52 Stories For Brooklyn

The Steiner family has unveiled plans for a 52-story downtown Brooklyn, New York, residential tower. Called “The Hub,” the high rise is to be built at 333 Schermerhorn Street, at the intersection of Third and Flatbush avenues. The project will also include retail space and parking for more than 250 vehicles and be located within two blocks of 12 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road. In remarks on the location of the skyscraper, investors said they foresee the movement of Brooklyn’s Center southeast of downtown. Groundbreaking on the building is scheduled for early next year.

Mowrey Elevator Receives “Patriot Award”

Mowrey Elevator Co. of Marianna, Florida, has a long history of support for their employees who participate in the U.S. National Guard, U.S. Reserves and other military posts. In December 2011, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) awarded Mowrey Elevator the Patriot Award for its employee support of active-duty members. Mowrey Elevator Chairman and CEO Tim Mowrey, Sr., along with Vice President Irving Charles, were presented with the award from Sergeant First Class Rick Carey. Mowrey and Irving have both served in military capacities, as have several other Mowrey Elevator employees. ESGR aims to promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.

Draka Gets Contract for WTC

Draka Elevator has been selected to provide custom-designed elevator cables and accessories by two major OEM elevator companies performing the rebuilding of the World Trade Center (WTC) complex in New York City. The contracts entail supplying assorted hoistway cables, both standard and custom wire-way conduit and accessories, and special wire junction/terminal boxes for the 100-plus elevators to be installed.

Draka’s cables will be used to provide power for elevator buttons, communications devices and emergency safety in the 1,776-ft.-tall 1 WTC. Some of the hoistway cables include fiber-optic subunits, which are to be used for high-speed communications throughout the WTC complex. Construction on 1 and 4 WTC was underway as of press time.

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