Friday, December 28, 2012

Greenpoint's 10 Luxury Towers Moving Forward

Brooklyn developer Park Tower Group is moving ahead with plans to construct ten luxury residential towers on 22 acres of Greenpoint waterfront. Handel Architects designed the mega-project, called Greenpoint Landing. The developer expects to break ground on the first two towers before this summer. The previous tenants occupying the lots, mainly the Boardwalk Empire set, have moved out. The luxury development will bring 4.2 million square feet of mixed-use buildings with approximately 4,000 apartments, of which 20 percent will be affordable.

Greenpointer's green with envy for not all those shiny towers over in Williamsburg and in Long Island City, will not need to be for too much longer.

The first two towers to be built are set to rise on the northernmost section of the 22-acre site, according to a Park Tower spokesperson. An adjacent parking lot for MTA vehicles at 65 Commercial Street is set to be turned into an athletic field.

Handel Architects' plans call for much more than just ten towers rising 30 to 40 stories high. Plans also include a futuristic pedestrian bridge over Newtown Creek, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, to connect Greenpoint and the Queens West development in Long Island City.

The developer has confirmed that the site will feature a marina as well as the largest East River pier as the centerpiece of the waterfront experience.

Indoor amenities will include concierge and valet service, fitness center and spa, racquetball court, golf-simulator, children’s playroom and movie screening room.

Unique outdoor space will include a seasonal putting green / ice rink, and a large amenity deck overlooking with swimming pool, hot tub and barbecue area. Indoor parking will be accessible to all residents, and restaurants and other retail establishments will be incorporated throughout the entire project.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

56 Leonard Street Restarts After a Four-Year Delay

Lend Lease, construction manager for 56 Leonard Street - the long-stalled Jenga Building at the corner of Church Street - said that construction would re-start this week. The unique 58-story tower has been likened to a “Jenga” block for its offset slabs that alternate to a height of 830 feet.  It may not sound like much for New York City, but this building, situated in the Tribeca neighborhood , will tower over the low-rise houses at its base.

The developer says that plans have not substantially changed from Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron’s original design, although plans for the giant street-level, chrome sculpture were no longer on the table.

At 830 feet, the 146-unit condominium building will be the tallest in Tribeca.

Good news for the restarted project is that the excavation and foundation work were completed prior to the shutdown, so once the Con Edison vaults are finished, they can start with structural work.

Although the completed foundation has sat untouched for more than four years, the bad news is the project will still take another four years to complete - due to the building’s many cantilevers, which make for slow going.

The timetable set by Lend Lease is as follows:
December 2012 – January 2013
          - Con Ed vaults and foundation remediation
December 2012 – August 2014
          - Superstructure
November 2012 – January 2016
          - Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinklers
July 2013 – April 2015
          - Facade
August 2013 – January 2016
          - Interiors
February 2013 – March 2016
          - Project completion

Community opposition may be one factor for the tower’s delayed construction, but the construction stalled when the economy took a nosedive.

Lend Lease, and luxury developer Alexico Group, planned to rehabilitate the project when they bought the construction site from New York law School $136 million.

The project is being constructed under a $275-million Project Labor Agreement reached with the Building Trades Employers' Association of New York, representing more than a dozen labor organizations.

The cantilevered apartments will rise 58 stories and target the same demographic set that is currently buying at One57 and will soon be buying from 432 Park Avenue.

There is enough divergence in location that competition should not be a problem, although 56 Leonard and 432 Park Avenue should be reaching completion within a year of each other.

Apartments are expected to cost between $5 and $35 million dollars, and range from 1,430 square feet for a two -bedroom unit, to 6,380 square feet for a 5-bedroom penthouse.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Massive Waterfront Corporate Park Breaks Ground in Hoboken

SJP Properties has broken ground on the Waterfront Corporate Center III, the final piece of a 26-acre mixed-used office park in Hoboken, New Jersey. The world’s leading educational publisher, Pearson Group, is slated to be the center’s anchor tenant. In partnership with USAA Real Estate, SJP is developing the 500,000-square-foot site as the third and final office building at the 1.5 million-square-foot corporate and retail-shopping complex. Hoboken city officials say the event marks a major step in Sandy recovery.

Waterfront Corporate Center III, located at 221 River Street, is expected to create more than 600 construction jobs.

The development will be next to the W Hotel and a short walk from the Hoboken Terminal, a mass transit hub for NJ Transit buses and trains, PATH, water ferries to Manhattan. It is also a short drive to the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.

The 14-story building was designed by HLW International and be the only Silver LEED complex on the Hoboken waterfront.

The $150 million Phase III is being financed with the help of $66 million in tax credits from the state of New Jersey, over a 10-year period. The tax credits are designed to help attract businesses to relocate or to open new offices near major transportation hubs — making them more sustainable and more attractive to younger employees from New York and other major population centers.

Officials said the groundbreaking marked a major step in the city’s recovery following Hurricane Sandy, which caused extensive flooding in the Hudson County city and left the PATH commuter train system there badly damaged. “This is a strong testament to the fact that we are able to attract new business to Hoboken,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Pearson is relocating 900 employees from its existing offices in Upper Saddle River and Old Tappan, New Jersey, and will occupy five floors of the complex starting in 2014, when the building is scheduled for completion. "We’re all about talent, that’s what makes our business go,” said Will Ethridge, chief executive of North American Education for the Pearson Group.

The new waterfront complex marks the latest in a series of developments for SJP Properties.

The firm is developing the new Panasonic North American headquarters in downtown Newark, and is a partner in the $500 million luxury rental complex in Fort Lee, called the Modern. [ElectricWeb | Blogger, April 28, 2012]

The two glass skyscrapers under construction adjacent to the George Washington Bridge will hold a combined 900 luxury rental units.

SJP is also the developer of the struggling 11 Times Square in Manhattan. That 1.1 million-square-foot property is only 40 percent leased after three years

Monday, December 24, 2012

World's Tallest Modular Tower Breaks Ground

Well, modular construction is here, and it is real. After decades of dreaming by architects, developer Bruce Ratner has made it possible to build a New York City building in a factory, assembling the units on site. Instead of cars, we will now be rolling apartments off an assembly line. The innovative construction method will allow work on the 32-story residential tower in downtown Brooklyn to proceed indoors—in fair weather and foul—at record speed and lower cost.

Forest City Ratner has finally broken ground for what will be the world's tallest modular building, in a suitably unconventional manner. There were no chrome plated shovels to be found on the site at the edge of downtown Brooklyn.

Instead, New Yorkers got their first look at one of the 930 prefabricated units or chassis that will be stacked and lashed together to make up the first Atlantic Yards residential tower.

On hand at the ceremony were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, developer Bruce Ratner and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The 32-story tower, called B2, which will rise at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, will be the first residential building in the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project that is anchored by the new Barclays Center.

Half of the residential building's 363 units have been designated as affordable housing. It will boast amenities including a fitness center, bike storage and in-unit washers and dryers.

B2, which will be built using prefabricated pods or modules containing everything from living rooms to baths, will be part of the first phase of the Atlantic Yards development, which will include a total of five towers. Those will rise at six to nine month intervals following B2. They will likely include an office building and possibly a hotel, according to the developer Forest City Ratner.

A steel structure will be erected on the site, while the modular pieces will be built at a factory at Brooklyn Navy Yard, saving months of construction time by allowing the units to be built indoors come rain or snow. The revolutionary modular construction method will also save the developer millions of dollars, by among other things hugely speeding up construction.

The second phase will bring 11 more modular residential buildings, retail space and some open space. When all is said and done, Atlantic Yards is planned to have 2,250 affordable units.

“This may be the means and method to create more opportunities for construction that would not have existed if it were not for this technology,” Gary LaBarbera, head of the New York City Building Trades Council.

Mr. LaBarbera has become an unlikely ally for the development, considering many union jobs were promised when this project came along, and a good deal of the savings modular offers is through limiting the most high-cost jobs of certain union workers.

The units will still be constructed in a union shop at a factory, but using lower-paid workers. Still, Mr. Labarbera seemed pleased that what he touted as 125 new union jobs, even if they were low paying, was better than none at all.

In addition, there are the other opportunities this new technology opens up, not only making unfeasible projects buildable, thanks to the estimated 30 percent savings, but it could also convert non-union jobs to unionized ones.

Bruce Ratner, Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Marty Markowitz all cheered on the possibility of modular housing becoming a booming export from Brooklyn and elsewhere in the city. “It’s a whole new industry, born here in Brooklyn,” Mr. Markowitz proudly declared.

The mayor said the rapid pace of construction at Atlantic Yards defied all expectations. "The bottom line is we're ahead of schedule," Mr. Bloomberg said. "We're going to deliver what the city needs, affordable housing, so the people who built this city can stay in this city."

Mr. Ratner pointed out that the affordable housing and the market rate apartments will be indistinguishable, "from counter tops to towel bars."

The first residential building is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2014.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Extell Development Thinking Tall. Very Tall

Extell Development, Manhattan's most prolific developer, is planning a new skyscraper that will rise 300 feet higher than the Empire State Building - and if One WTC did not have a spire, it would easily top that as well. Extell has tapped architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill - designers of the world's tallest tower, the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai - to design a 1,550-foot apartment tower atop the city's first Nordstrom department store at 225 West 57th Street. 

Gary Barnett is gearing up to build one of the tallest towers in the city, one that would offer sweeping views of Central Park a block to the north.

The company is aiming high: filing a permit application to build a 1,550-foot tower on the site just east of Broadway between 57th and 58th streets.

The 88-story building at 225 West 57th Street will be just up the street from Extell's One57.

Demolition work at the site is already underway, but a true groundbreaking is still a ways off, as Extell still needs to secure construction financing for the project. [see ElectricWeb | Blogger, April 2, 2012]

Nevertheless, Mr. Barnett said, "It's going to be a very tall building."

Plans for the building are moving forward at a time that a new type of skyscraper is beginning to emerge on the Manhattan skyline.

For decades, office towers accounted for most of the towers built more than 600 feet high, while top residential apartments were generally found in Upper East Side cooperatives.

But now a handful of developers are building very tall, slender luxury residential towers, betting that the wealthy will pay for great views.

Extell, currently one of the city's most prolific developers, has been on the vanguard of this change.

A few blocks east of the Nordstrom tower site on 57th Street, the company is building One57, a 1,004-foot tower. Mr. Barnett has said two buyers have agreed to pay more than $95 million each, for two penthouse apartments there, which would be a record price.

On 57th Street and Park Avenue, CIM Group is building a 1420-foot condominium tower with a waffle-like exterior.

As with all skyscrapers, it's the economics that makes them possible - and it is a strong market. Moreover, In Manhattan particularly, people are willing to pay a great deal—millions and tens of millions of dollars for apartments in the sky. There is a huge market for that.

If Extell's latest project does reach 1,550 feet, it is not exactly clear how it would officially rank among the city's tallest buildings.

The developer building One World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, has put that structure's height at 1,776 feet, which would make it the city's tallest building - but that height includes the building's 408-foot mast. Its owners say the mast is an architectural element and should be considered toward its height, but others may consider it simply an antenna, given that an architectural shell around the mast was stripped from the design during the development.

The Council on Tall Buildings is the arbiter, but is not set to rule until after One World Trade Center is complete in 2014. If the mast were not included, it would be significantly shorter than the 1,550 feet being eyed by Mr. Barnett.

Extell chose Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for the 57th Street tower after considering a number of avant-garde architects for the project. Those included Swiss designers Herzog & de Meuron, and New York-based SHoP Architects, the designers of the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn.

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was recently tapped to design the Equinox Tower as part of Related's Hudson Yards development.

Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill  were the designers of the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai - the world's tallest tower - when they worked at Skidmore Owings & Merill.

This summer, Extell secured a commitment from Seattle-based Nordstrom to build its first New York City location—a 285,000-square-foot store—on the site, and Nordstrom recommended the Chicago-based design firm. [see ElectricWeb | Blogger, June 29, 2012]

Blake Nordstrom believes the architectural firm shares its vision for a top-quality design for the building, which is scheduled to open in 2018.

We want to have our best Nordstrom store in the best retail city in the world," Mr. Johnson said. "That means being part of a building that we hope will become an iconic part of the Manhattan landscape."

Nordstrom would be in the base of the building. The building permit application calls for a hotel above the Nordstrom store, between floors seven and 12, while apartments and mechanical equipment would account for the remainder up to the top, 88th floor.

One challenge for Extell may come from a rival development firm with similar plans. Just one block to the north at 220 Central Park South, Vornado Realty Trust is planning to build a condominium tower that could obstruct many views from Extell's building and the two have been battling behind the scenes.

Mr. Barnett, however, has an Ace-in-the-Hole. He controls the lease to a parking garage at the site that runs until 2018 with the option renew, thus having the ability to block Vornado from doing any building.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One World Trade Center: Antenna or Spire?

After a 1,700-mile voyage from Canada, half of the World Trade Center‘s antenna arrived in New York, and, Wednesday morning, workers lifted the first section of the 408-foot spire over 1,300 feet to the top of One World Trade Center—104-stories above the streets of Lower Manhattan—for installation. 

Like the scale of everything at the World Trade site, the structure is gigantic, higher than most skyscrapers in the rest of the country.

Once finished, the spire will bring One WTC to a staggering 1,776 feet tall, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Nevertheless, there remains contention on whether to describe the structure is an antenna, or a spire. The results could have tall repercussions.

The Port Authority opted to remove an architectural cladding around the antenna earlier this year, trimming millions from the building’s price tag.

However, without it, the Council on Tall Buildings - the Chicago-based organization charged with ranking building heights - could opt to exclude the antenna from the overall building height.

That would mean One World Trade wouldn’t clock in as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere - or even the tallest in New York City.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Three Stalled Manhattan Projects Show Signs of Life

After four years of delay, The Charles, a $170 million condominium building at 1355 First Avenue, is on the verge of beginning construction. The luxury tower, between 72nd and 73rd streets, will have 51 designer apartments with asking prices between $2 million and $18 million. The building is scheduled to rise 34 stories upon completion in the spring of 2014. 

According to a press release, Bluerock Real Estate, led by restaurant impresario Ramin Kamfar - who has poured an estimated $53 million of equity into the project - has received a $100 million construction loan from Los Angeles-based Canyon Capital Advisors to get things going at the site.

Bluerock has retained development firm Victor Homes and Triton Construction of Garden City, to build the Ismael Leyva-designed luxury tower.

The New Jersey-based developer is also erecting a 20-story building with 48 condo units at 241 Fifth Avenue near Madison Square Park, and preparing to build a 100-unit condominium tower at 532 West 29th Street in Chelsea early next year.

Condos For 241 Fifth Avenue
The failed Madison Square Park hotel project in Manhattan is getting a second shot as condominiums. New Jersey developer, Victor Homes, acquired the dormant four-story project at 241 Fifth Avenue last year with plans to erect a 20-story building with luxury 48 condominium units. The Victor at Fifth Avenue has been slow rising over the past year, and topped out early this fall.

Victor is one of the many developers capitalizing on New York's real estate recovery by taking control of distressed or stalled projects. This strategy has become increasingly popular as banks become more open to selling under-performing loans.

The former owners had planned to demolish the building at 241 Fifth Ave. and put up a 100-room boutique hotel. It was one of several projects taking place in the area near Madison Square Park during the real-estate boom.

However, the timing wasn't right and construction on the proposed hotel never started. The developer defaulted on a $32 million loan from Inland Mortgage Capital, which began foreclosure proceedings on the hotel project in 2009.

Victor Homes, a unit of Israeli-based real-estate company Eclogue Management, ended up buying that debt at a discounted price of $20 million.

The condominium units will range from one-bedrooms to four-bedrooms. Pricing for the units is still being determined, but the asking price for a one-bedroom apartment will be in the range of $2 million to $2.5 million.

The Victor at West 29
New Jersey-based developer Victor Homes is set to build a 90- to 100-unit condominium in Chelsea, after buying two 12,500-square-foot buildings at 532 West 29th Street for $12 million. The site presently houses the Peter Blum Chelsea gallery and the Sean Kelly art gallery.

Victor plans to tear down the existing art galleries to build a 100,000-square-foot condominium building, with 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The building is still in the design stage and a construction schedule has not yet been released. This would be the latest acquisition for the New Jersey developer, which is focusing primarily on Manhattan real estate these days.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Giant MoMA Tower Close to Ground Breaking?

For a time, it looked as though the MoMA Tower would be the tallest apartment building in the city, when the 1,250-foot tower was proposed three years ago. Having been cut down to 1,050 feet by the city, and with the revelation that Extell Development is building a 1,550-foot tower at Broadway and 57th Street–to its 1,005-foot One57, and surpass the 1420-foot tower at 432 Park Avenue–it appears Torre Verre, the official name, will simply be a very tall apartment building. Very, very tall.

That, and architect Jean Nouvel’s pedigree, have the construction industry watching the project’s every move. This week, pile-driving equipment had been assembled on the site next to the Museum of Modern Art - a sign of the project’s imminent commencement.

According to architect Jean Nouvel, "The design features a faceted exterior that tapers to a set of three distinct asymmetrical crystalline peaks at the apex of the tower – each peak varying in height and shape."

Inside, there will be 100 hotel rooms, 480,000 square feet of residential space, and 60,000 square feet of expansion to the Museum of Modern Art. [see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Oct 5, 2011]

Hines Development is still working on financing for the giant tower project at 53 West 53rd Street. That has been the key piece hampering this project for the past year, ever since new plans were filed with the city. Nevertheless, so too have other towers suffered from a lack of financing, such as the B2-tower at Atlantic Yards.

Now that those buildings, as well as those like 432 Park Avenue are rising - and people are paying insane rates for Manhattan condominium units , it won't be long before bank financing for the project is secured.

Until they do, nothing is happening on the site, according to a Hines spokesperson. "Machinery is on site and ready to commence building construction, but we're not breaking ground."

Not just yet.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Biggest Development on Upper West Side, Breaks Ground

Riverside Center, a five-tower, 3.3 million square foot development that will one day include 2,500 apartments, a hotel, a movie theater, an auto showroom, a new public school and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail and office space, has broken ground along Riverside Boulevard between 59th and 61st Streets.

The site, part of the parcel of land between 59th and 72nd Streets along the Hudson River that was once owned by Donald Trump’s companies, is the largest current development project in the neighborhood — and given how congested the Upper West Side already is, it could be the biggest project for years.

Riverside Center is the southernmost development of the stretch. [See ElectricWeb | Blogger, July 27, 2011]

Until recently, auto body shops and a parking lot had occupied the site of Riverside Center. Now, the heavy equipment has moved in. When it is completed, the Riverside Center development will have five apartment towers with a park in the middle.

Locals fought over aspects of the development for months and it was approved two years ago by the City Council. Twenty percent of the apartments are supposed to be affordable. Expect the rest to be luxurious. Carlyle Realty Partners and Extell Development Company are developing the site.

Riverside Center is the final undeveloped parcel in the 77-acre Riverside South mega-project, and will stretch from 59th to 61st Streets, and West End Avenue to the edge of the West Side Highway. Extell expects to develop the parcel over the next six years.

Riverside Center will contain:
  •      3.3 million gross square feet.
  •      A new K-8 school on West 61st Street - enrolling up to 1,300
  •      A 250-room hotel off West 59th Street.
  •      A massive underground automobile service center with a street-level showroom.
  •      A shallow fountain and scrim that children and adults could walk into.
  •      More than 3 acres of public space.
  •      12% of the units set aside for affordable housing.
The first building being developed will contain the public school, which is slated to open in 2015, with the entire development expected to be completed by 2018.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

E-J Electric and Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Expansion

Mount Sinai Medical Center is undergoing a facility expansion, and E-J Electric Installation Co., Long Island City, N.Y., is providing the electrical construction management for the new 410,000-square-foot Center for Science and Medicine (CSM) building being erected on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. This construction is the latest expansion for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and consists of an 11-story medical research center attached to a 43-story mixed-use tower that houses apartments and patient care spaces.

“There’s nothing typical about this healthcare addition; its electrical design is unlike any other,” said Alan Norden, executive vice president for E-J Electric Installation Co.

One case in point: the plan includes extending power between the structures across the ninth floor of the residential tower to the research facility.

The CSM addition expands the healthcare facility’s research and treatment programs with four types of interactive user spaces, where education, outpatient treatment, computer facilities and science research take place.

The facility includes the Mount Sinai Brain Institute and Spinal Cord Injury Model System, the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, and the Cancer Institute, all sharing a multistory lobby and including specialty outpatient care and clinical research.

The new Center for Science and Medicine has a planned completion in 2013 and is intended to foster innovation by creating conditions for scientists and physicians from a variety of disciplines and specialties to work together on medical improvements.

E-J Electric Installation Co. is managing the electrical construction of the facility, including all of the electrical equipment, fire alarm, security, lightning protection, teledata and audiovisual systems installation. The electrical contractor has worked closely with the design architect, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; the electrical engineer Jaros Baum & Bolles of New York; the construction manager Lend Lease; and the building owner.

The building collaboration began during the preconstruction phase when the E-J Electric team met with its partners to provide electrical value engineering and cost control for the center’s final design. As part of the coordination process, E-J Electric took the leading role in the 3-D building information modeling of the electrical systems.

“The project is extremely complex,” said Nels Berg, vice president of facilities at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

With the many contractors involved and two linked buildings, the design process was essential to start the project.

 “Lend Lease began planning early with E-J and other subcontractors,” said Cary Colton, Lend Lease’s executive vice president and general manager of healthcare.

“The subs were in there working with us early,” he said, adding that they were tasked with ordering equipment as well. “[It] helps us bring the supply chain in early.”

Ground-breaking for the two buildings took place in 2010. The buildings share four floors of family practice space and three floors of mechanical-electrical-plumbing space.

Under the CSM building’s 35,000-square-foot vivarium floor for animal research are the subcellar mezzanine floors and space for mechanical storage and for patient treatment machines, such as MRIs, CTs and Linac X-ray facilities. The center also includes a state-of-the-art lecture hall with two seminar rooms for presentations and classes with videoconferencing audiovisual equipment.

Power to the tower

In the early months of the project, E-J Electric’s team installed a 15-kilovolt (kV) system up to the ninth floor of the tower. Cables running up nine flights from the ground floor connect to four 15-kV vaults in the residential tower that transfer 480 volts (V) of power to the 11th-floor distribution rooms of the CSM, said Eugene Nagel, electrical field superintendent.

“Designing the power distribution in such a way reduced labor costs for construction, required less equipment and made additional space available for facility use by the hospital. In addition, Mount Sinai was able to obtain a better rate on power from the utility,” he said.

Altogether, E-J Electric’s team installed four 15-kV primary distribution substations with 2,500-kilovolt-ampere (kVA) to 480V step-down transformers in the 43-story tower. This network feeds a 5,000-ampere (A), 480V network ring bus and powers a system with six main distribution switchboards and two 2,000A bus duct risers for the research lab floors and vivarium floor. In addition, E-J Electric’s team also wired in two main distribution switchboards for the tower. With four primary transformers, the building has quadruple redundancy, enabling the facility to lose up to three services and still maintain power.

E-J Electric used cranes to raise and install switchgear and also constructed a series of temporary platforms between the buildings for installing feeders.

Redundant service is redundant

Emergency power distribution includes two 2.5-megawatt H.O. Penn Machinery Co. and Caterpillar generators connected through paralleling switchgear for integrating life safety and critical-care systems. Also, the electrical contractor installed 19 ASCO automatic-transfer switches that distribute normal or emergency power throughout 30 electrical closets between the CSM building and shared floors of the residential tower.

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) was installed to power the Mount Sinai CSM building’s “hot aisle” containment high-performance computing (HPC) data center, which is being put in for the research center, said Robert Letscher, senior project manager for E-J Electric.

The UPS consists of two 750-kVA (675 kW) Liebert Systems NXL three-phase single-module lineups. This system supports four 300-kVA power distribution units (PDUs) and two 150-kVA PDUs that together provide redundant power to all equipment connections within the data center. In addition, each 750-kVA UPS lineup has a battery-backup system with 240 battery cells.

The data center will consist of 28 HPC cabinets, each having two redundant, 60A, three-phase, 208V, multiple outlet assemblies. Sixteen 18-kW Liebert CRV units cool the HPC cabinets.

In addition to these two UPS systems, the expansion includes an additional 120-kVA UPS to supply uninterruptible power to the CSM building’s voice, data, security, audio/video and nurse-call build-out. This power is distributed in 13 telephone room closets within the building.

Going beyond the call

E-J Electric handled many other building system installations. For instance, the team installed more than 160 different types of lighting fixtures made by more than 40 different lighting manufacturers. The workers also installed lighting controls and a complete interior fit-out system for a lecture hall and two seminar rooms.

The grounding and lightning protection for the buildings consists of a Master Label system with 75 roof-mounted air terminals, supplying ground paths with integrated surge suppression.

An Edwards Signaling fire alarm system—including six fire alarm data gathering panels (DGPs), 40 strobe booster panels, 65 pull stations, and 480 smoke and heat detectors—was installed to provide fire protection for the facilities. The electrical contractor also provided 400 strobes, 500 speakers, 300 control-monitoring modules and five pre-action systems.

E-J Electric’s Communication Systems division managed the installation of a low-voltage system, including telecommunications/data, nurse call, security and AT&T’s intrabuilding distributed antenna system cellular network.

The low-voltage cabling alone amounted to a total of 1.6 million feet of four-pair, Cat 6 cable, which feeds data and telephone throughout the CSM facility to medical worker and researchers’ workstations, nurse-call units and security cameras.

E-J Electric also managed the installation of 144,000 feet of four-pair, Cat 6 cable in the tower, which feeds more workstations, nurse call and security cameras. In addition, the company ran approximately 30,000 feet of campus fiber between all of the Mount Sinai buildings, completing more than 1,000 fiber terminations. The team ran 10,000 feet of 24-strand multimode fiber from the telephone rooms to the main equipment room, also known as the main distribution frame (MDF) and, additionally, 4,000 feet of 300-pair, Cat 3 cable from the telephone rooms to the MDF.

Mount Sinai’s CSM building has a wireless network consisting of 256 Wi-Fi access point units installed throughout. The AT&T cellular system also includes 8,000 feet of -inch Heliax cable, 1,000 feet of -inch coaxial cable, 750 feet of 12-strand fiber cable, 116 Huber+Suhner wireless antennas and four GPS antennas.

Included within this scope was the build-out of 17 telephone rooms with teledata and cable ladder racks between the CSM and tower buildings.

The nurse-call system installed throughout the four floors of the family and outpatient medical practice areas includes remote paging and alert and light indication response systems for staff to respond to a patient’s needs.

E-J Electric managed the installation of security wall fields in the 17 telephone rooms and three elevator machine rooms, installed 196 stationary and pan/tilt/zoom cameras and provided wiring for 331 Harmony lock doors between the two buildings.

Close quarters contracting

“Because the site is in Manhattan, the staging space is nonexistent,” Nagel said, “and every piece of pipe and other equipment had to be brought in as it was installed.”

E-J Electric used storage yards located off-site. Working in Manhattan, logistics issues among trades and limited space required coordination to keeping the project on track.

At peak, E-J Electric managed approximately 120 electricians on-site.
By Claire Swedberg
Published: November 2012, Electrical Contractor
Claire Swedberg is a freelance writer. She can be reached at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Choice Hotels Breaks Ground on Three New Hotels

Work has begun on three new hotels, with the official groundbreaking of three Cambria Suites in New York. The properties will be located in Times Square and Chelsea in Manhattan, and downtown White Plains in Westchester County. Choice Hotels International, the company behind brands like Econo Lodge, Clarion and Comfort Inn, broke ground Thursday on the two Manhattan hotels, at 30 West 46th Street in Midtown, and at 123 West 28th Street. The ceremony comes 24 hours after the chain began construction of its hotel in White Plains. 

The Times Square location will be the first to open in the city, in the winter of 2014. The Chelsea hotel is scheduled to open in the following quarter. The hotel in White Plains, will be the first to be up and running. It is scheduled for a ribbon cutting in the summer of next year.

All three hotels will be under a brand aimed at business travelers, Cambria Suites. It will be Choice's highest-end option to date, according to Steve Joyce, the company's chief executive.

Though there are about 20 Cambria Suites open in secondary markets, work on the New York locations marks the beginning of the company's charge into major cities. "Today represents sort of a real turning point for the brand," said Mr. Joyce, who noted that New York was chosen because of its "visibility."

While the rooms are a suite setup, with separate sleeping and living areas, the price includes extras like parking, Wi-Fi and gym access for which other hotels charge.

Mr. Joyce said he is looking to attract travelers who want to stay comfortably for as good a price as possible. "Value is the key to all their decision making and Choice is known for that," Mr. Joyce said.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bungled Maneuver in Bronx Kills Construction Worker

An industrial air conditioner plunged from a crane at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital on Tuesday, killing a construction worker. The horribly bungled maneuver began when workers used a crane to lift the flatbed carrying a huge chiller. The crew planned to hitch the flatbed to a truck cab but apparently failed to secure the cooling unit, according to DOB investigators. The machine toppled off the truck - crushing a 38-year-old man guiding the crane operator at the Bronx construction site.

According to a police, a truck-mounted crane was lifting the industrial, trailer-sized unit when the chain snapped, sending it crashing onto the worker. The machinery dropped several feet, clipping the edge of the trailer and flipping over onto its side on the sidewalk.

It took nearly an hour for first responders to lift the heavy machine off the trapped man.

The 38-year-old man, identified as Tristan Mananghaya of Jersey City, died at Bronx Lebanon Hospital shortly after the 11 a.m. incident. He had been working with a private company that was removing the chilling unit, which sat near the sidewalk of the East 173 Street hospital.

It is not clear which of the two companies involved is responsible for the accident, in which Tristan Mananghaya was brutally crushed to death. Aggreko Corp. leased the chiller to the hospital, and C&L Towing of New Jersey was hired by Aggreko to deliver the massive machine, when it slid off the truck.

Both the Buildings Department and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the incident.

Bungled Maneuver in Bronx Kills Construction Worker

An industrial air conditioner plunged from a crane at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital on Tuesday, killing a construction worker. The horribly bungled maneuver began when workers used a crane to lift the flatbed carrying a huge chiller. The crew planned to hitch the flatbed to a truck cab but apparently failed to secure the cooling unit, according to DOB investigators. The machine toppled off the truck - crushing a 38-year-old man guiding the crane operator at the Bronx construction site.

According to a police, a truck-mounted crane was lifting the industrial, trailer-sized unit when the chain snapped, sending it crashing onto the worker. The machinery dropped several feet, clipping the edge of the trailer and flipping over onto its side on the sidewalk.

It took nearly an hour for first responders to lift the heavy machine off the trapped man.

The 38-year-old man, identified as Tristan Mananghaya of Jersey City, died at Bronx Lebanon Hospital shortly after the 11 a.m. incident. He had been working with a private company that was removing the chilling unit, which sat near the sidewalk of the East 173 Street hospital.It is not clear which of the two companies involved is responsible for the accident, in which Tristan Mananghaya was brutally crushed to death.

Aggreko Corp. leased the chiller to the hospital, and C&L Towing of New Jersey was hired by Aggreko to deliver the massive machine, when it slid off the truck. Both the Buildings Department and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the incident.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Work Begins on 1.7 Million Sq Ft Coach Tower

Related Cos. has broken ground on its $15 billion mini-city in the Hudson Yards. The massive project will encompass 15 buildings and ultimately create 13 million square feet of retail, hotel, office and residential space, and acres of parks on the far West Side. Plans include apartments perched 75 stories over the river and a spire that rises higher than the Empire State Building.

Work to transform the largest undeveloped property in Manhattan from a railroad storage yard into a sleek new neighborhood of spiky high-rises and graceful parks got a formal start Tuesday, with developers and officials heralding it as the next big thing in a city known for them.

A new skyline in a waterfront neighborhood with apartments 75 stories high, an observation deck shaped like a spaceship jutting out from an office tower taller than the Empire State Building and a 5-acre plaza with a sculpture as large as Lady Liberty.

On Tuesday, city officials and developers will broke ground on Hudson Yards, a $15 billion 15-structure mini-city on Manhattan’s West Side that will create more office space than exists in Portland, Oregon. The first office tower, a 48-story building, is scheduled to be finished by 2015.

“This will shift the heart of the city to the Far West Side,” said Stephen Ross, whose Related Companies partnered with Oxford Properties Group to develop the site bounded by 30th St., Tenth Ave., 33rd St. and the West Side Highway.

“If you look at where all the young people are today, where they want to be, where all the money is going, it’s the West Side of Manhattan,” Ross, the Related chairman, added. “The yards will be the epicenter of all that.”

The groundbreaking ends years of deal making between developers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the rail yard and will lease the development rights for 99 years for more than $1 billion. Kohn Pedersen Fox designed both commercial towers.

For New Yorkers trying to wiggle out of a recession, Hudson Yards could mean thousands of jobs and hundreds of units of affordable housing.

“Developing Manhattan’s final frontier is the next major step in our city’s ongoing economic revival,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The Hudson Yards project — whose construction will create at least 23,000 jobs and whose existence will support thousands more — is a testament to our city’s economic strength.”

Urban experts see Hudson Yards as a means for New York to stay competitive with Shanghai, London and Paris as a key 21st century city.

“This city needs to prove it can continue to innovate,” said Mitchell Moss, a New York University urban policy professor. “Who would figure out how to build a new neighborhood on railroad yards? People overlook that it brings a new class of buildings that are the most technologically and environmentally advanced. That’s key to attracting major companies, events and people.”

The first phase will include four mixed-use commercial, residential, and retail structures, a cultural center and a five-star hotel.

>> More Hudson Yards Coverage & Photos on ElectricWeb|Blogger

Each building will have a theme. The fashion-focused smaller office tower will connect to the taller commerce-oriented structure through a shopping complex. A third oval building designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill will house a hotel, offices and residences.

A fourth structure by High Line architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro will be a rental and condominium building attached to a city cultural and events center. An 80,000-square-foot retail store devoted to participatory sports such as cycling and kayaking will anchor the Childs mixed-use structure closest to the Hudson River.

“It will be the Apple Store of sports and wellness,” said Related Hudson Yards President Jay Cross, a world-class sailor who went to the Olympics for his native Canada.

Related hopes an outdoor “piazza” draws crowds from the five boroughs. Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz, the firm that completed the 9/11 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., it will feature art and other programming.

“I see a plaza that will be one of the most important public spaces of the 21st century with one of the world’s greatest sculptures,” said Ross. “Everyone coming from midtown, up the West Side Highway and High Line will see it as they approach.”

Ross also fired back at skeptics who say Related will not complete Hudson Yards on time — or at all. “Everyone said the same thing when we were building Time Warner Center, and now it’s the most successful shopping center in the United States,” he said, referring to the glistening twin towers on Columbus Circle.

“We have announcements to make soon about new tenants in both commercial buildings. The rents and condominium prices are the highest in the city on the West Side around the Yards. We’re not even going to initially take a profit on the commercial side. We’ll get this built.”

The first phase is expected to be complete by 2017, starting with the tower housing Coach in 2015, Ross said.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forest City Moves Ahead With Modular Tower

Forest City Ratner, developer of the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, has announced that the mixed-use complex’s first residential building—a 32-story, 350-unit, metal-and-glass modular tower — will break ground on December 18. The developer has estimated that the modular structure, which will have a series of setbacks and cantilevers, will cost about 20 percent less than a nearly identical conventionally constructed tower.

Forest City is partnering with construction giant, Skanska USA, to create FC + Skanska Modular. The new company will rely on union labor to assemble the components in a warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a few miles from Atlantic Yards.

The announcement follows protracted negotiations with local unions, who now say that the project will both preserve and create jobs. “We see the potential to have his approach improve our competiveness elsewhere in the local market and expand into an export industry,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.

FCR will break ground on the borough's tallest apartment complex, a 322-foot-tall building at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, on December 18. The building is the first of 15 similar modular buildings to be constructed at the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards site.

Atlantic Yards Renters Headed Back to the Old Neighborhood

For a handful of Prospect Heights residents, moving into the first Atlantic Yards apartment building will be a homecoming of sorts. Seven years ago, 17 renters living in the footprint of the development site accepted a unique deal from Forest City Ratner.

In return for moving, the tenants got apartments nearby at the same rent they were paying - covered by Forest City. Tenants were also promised they would be moved into the new 32-story complex called named B2 when it is completed in the summer of 2014.

Many worried that Forest City Ratner might renege on the contract, but the company is sticking to their word, according to tenants who took the relocation offer.

An artist who initially fought being tossed from his high-ceiling loft at 475 Dean Street in 2005, eventually accepted the relocation deal and moved to another loft nearby - and hasn't worried about rent ever since. Others took the buyouts and left town.

During the contentious takeover of the 22-acre site, 209 renters living in the area were offered the relocation agreement or a cash payment averaging $85,000. Tenants are now looking forward to moving into the pre-fabricated apartment building's 180 apartments set aside for affordable housing, in 2014. Half of the first building's 363 apartments will be subsidized with city affordable housing bonds.

Monday, December 3, 2012

When it Rains it Pours: Electrical Fire at 55 Water St

At least 27 people were treated for smoke inhalation outside a downtown office tower after a fire broke out early Friday morning in the storm-struck basement of 55 Water Street. The imposing 53-story tower, which is still without power and operating on generators, is home to city agencies and many Fortune-500 companies. A short in a feeder cable, which was re-energized after electrical repair work related to Hurricane Sandy - not temporary generators -sparked the fire, according to fire officials.

Clinging to the eastern edge of southern Manhattan, 55 Water Street is among dozens of downtown buildings still struggling to return to normal after surging waters from Hurricane Sandy ripped through basements and lower floors, knocking out vital systems. Many remain reliant on power from generators, which groan loudly on surrounding streets and create what can appear from the outside to be a complicated web of wires.

However, it was electrical work, not a mishap connected to a temporary power generator, which sparked the fire, the department said.

“The fire at 55 Water Street was caused by a short in a feeder cable, which was re-energized this morning as part of repair work to electrical cables damaged during the storm,” said Frank Dwyer, a Fire Department spokesman.

“The problems were on the customer side,” said a Con Ed spokesman, referring to the electrical lines inside of a building that do not belong to the utility. In the aftermath of the storm, utilities in the region have had to wait to turn the power back on in damaged homes and businesses until the electrical wiring inside is repaired by the individual owners. “They have to be ready to accept our services.”

The office tower at 55 Water Street has four Con Edison lines running into it, two of which had been previously energized without incident. Neither of the two other service lines was energized by Con Edison on Friday, though workers from the utility were doing work there on the south side of the tower. The fire occurred on the Water Street side of the building.

More than 80 firefighters responded to the fire, which erupted around 9:30 a.m. At least one firefighter was among the 27 treated at the scene; four of those were taken to New York Downtown Hospital for further evaluation. After the fire was under control, firefighters conducted checks of generators around the area to ensure they are being used safely.

When completed in 1972, 55 Water Street was the largest office building in the world, and at nearly 4 million square feet t, is still the largest in New York City. The massive structure was built on a superblock created from four adjoining city blocks, cutting off the western part of Front Street.  The building - which is home to city agencies and large private companies, including the Department of Transportation and Standard & Poor’s - was among many along the Lower Manhattan waterfront that sustained damage related to Hurricane Sandy when more than 32 million gallons of seawater flooded three underground levels and causing water to rise six feet high in the lobby.

Slow Lower Manhattan Revival

The latest blow to 55 Water Street is symbolic of the difficulties lying ahead of the Lower Manhattan. Much time is expected to pass before a substantial recovery is completed in the region. After a month from Hurricane Sandy, some high-rises have reemerged quickly while other buildings remain eerily dark and vacant.

Numerous Lower Manhattan landlords have told tenants that full power won’t be back for weeks, and in some cases, months, causing displaced businesses and residents to be uncertain of their return.

After Sandy, the city’s Buildings Department declared nine buildings in lower Manhattan to be unsafe because of structural damage from the storm, while Con Edison has restored electricity and steam power “access” to all buildings.

Yet 49 of the 183 office buildings in the Financial District were closed because of mechanical failures. By the latest count, at only 50% of these buildings were back in full operation, even if relying upon temporary power.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lower Manhattan Prepares for Huge Retail Growth

Four new shopping hubs are right on track as Lower Manhattan eyes a major revitalization. Despite the near-term dislocations caused by Sandy, the area will experience change in a huge way over the next three years. Already several hundred million dollars are beginning to pour into the creation of four giant retailing hubs covering more than 1 million square feet of space. 

Brookfield Place and Pier 17, as well as the new World Trade Center and in the Fulton Center shopping malls, are pinning their hopes on a growing army of tourists, and several major residential conversions.

In early October, the financial district welcomed an unusual newcomer, in the heart of a neighborhood far better known for high finance than high fashion. A three-story department store called Trinity Place—boasting trendy European-label apparel and accessories sprawled over 26,000 square feet of highly polished hardwood floors—opened at 61 Broadway.

Even Marian Rebro, the store's chief executive, acknowledges that his choice of locales might strike some as odd. "Why would I want to go where there are no good retailers or shopping?" he asked. "I look at this as an opportunity and a challenge."

Mall Mecca

The latter point is certainly true, now more so than ever in the havoc wrought by Superstorm Sandy. Nevertheless, the fact is that the storm is just one more hardship in a retail market that never recovered from the loss on 9/11 of the vast, highly successful mall in the World Trade Center. There's no real apparel retail or fashion retail; it is all food and service, so any of the major retailers have been hesitant to locate there because they do not have that synergy.

Despite the near-term dislocations caused by Sandy, that may change in a huge way in the next three years. Already several hundred million dollars are beginning to pour into the creation of four giant retailing hubs with a total of nearly 1 million square feet of space, roughly equivalent to Macy's nine-floor flagship at Herald Square.

Two of them, Brookfield Place, formerly known as the World Financial Center, and Pier 17 on the East River will be radical revamps. The other two, at the World Trade Center and the Fulton Street Transit Center, will be brand new. What their owners share is an ironclad conviction that there is a place for large-scale retailing, which once flourished in the vast lower reaches of the original World Trade Center.

They are pinning their hopes on a growing army of tourists, several looming residential conversions—including the 66-story former AIG headquarters—and four hotels expected to arrive by 2014. What's more, that is the same year that World Trade Center towers 1 and 4 will open.

New Malls Coming to Lower Manhattan 

   World Trade Center
   Developer: Westfield Group
   Location: Vesey Street
   Size: 365,000 square feet
   Opening Date: 2015

   Brookfield Place
   Developer: Brookfield Properties
   Location: 200 and 250 Vesey St., 200 and 225 Liberty St.
   Size: 200,000 square feet
   Opening Date: 2014

   Pier 17 at South Street Seaport
   Developer: Howard Hughes Corp.
   Location: 89 South St.
   Size: 195,000 square feet
   Opening Date: 2015

   Fulton Center
   Developer: Metropolitan Transportation Authority
   Location: Broadway at Fulton Street
   Size: 70,000 square feet
   Opening Date: 2014

Temporary Impact

Already there is much for retailers to work with. The Downtown Alliance estimates that lower Manhattan has about 57,000 residents, with an average annual household income of a hefty $188,000. In addition, the area's office towers house 310,000 employees, and last year's opening of the National September 11 Memorial is drawing record numbers. Last year, visitors to the area skyrocketed to 9.8 million. All of the various consumer groups are growing, and the momentum that lower Manhattan has experienced is not going to change because of the storm.

Five years ago, the arrival of luxury retailers Tiffany & Co. and Herm├Ęs seemed to herald the dawning of a new age for lower Manhattan, but the recession put such hopes on hold. Two or three stores cannot make a retail neighborhood. Meanwhile, the area's two most famous retailing stalwarts—J&R Music and Computer World and Century 21—have not only endured but have expanded.

Century 21 began renovating its flagship earlier this year, with various upgrades including more changing rooms and bathrooms. It also added 70,000 square feet to its existing 120,000-square-foot store.

Similarly, electronics institution J&R, which has been in lower Manhattan for more than four decades, recently opened a children's store, J&R Jr., to cater to the rising population of families in the neighborhood.

The new 15,000-square-foot shop, also located on Park Row, sells everything from strollers and baby gear to electronic toys.

The downtown restaurant business is also heating up.

Yet most important, the arrival of a supermarket on the east side of the area, introducing an option beyond the Whole Foods in TriBeCa, has cemented the area as livable. This fall, Key Food opened a 30,000-square-foot, three-story gourmet market at 55 Fulton Street, offering 24/7 service and free local delivery.