Monday, June 29, 2015

8 Hour Requirement for NYC Electrical License Renewal

Beginning January 1, 2016, all electrician license renewals will require successfully completing a Department of Buildings’ approved course of at least eight (8) hours.

To renew a NYC Master or Special Electrical License or maintain current under a deactivated license, the applicant must complete this course and submit a certificate of completion to the Licensing Unit as mandated by NYC Administrative Code 27-3015, 1 RCNY §104-06 Continuing Education &§105-03 Department Approved Courses. See notice

Following is a link to the DOB web page regarding how to renew your license: 

The Electrical Training Center is the only course provider for this requirement at this time.

Below are the dates scheduled for the 8 hour Master & Special Electrician license renewal course. Classes will be offered at the Electrical Training Center’s school in Copiague, Long Island, as well as the Affinia Hotel, located at 371 7th Avenue in Manhattan.

Those who would like to enroll in a class have the option of calling the school at (631) 226-8021or enrolling through the website at

Master & Special Electrician License Renewal Dates
Long Island - Electrical Training Center   
65 Elm St, Copiague, NY    
Tue     7/7/2015   
Sat     7/11/2015   
Thu     7/23/2015   
Tue     8/4/2015   
Tue     8/11/2015   
Sat     8/29/2015   
NYC - Affinia Hotel   
371 7th Avenue, NYC   
Tue     7/14/2015   
Thu     8/13/2015   
Tue     8/25/2015   
All classes run from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Total cost for the seminar is $225.00.
Additional courses will be added on a bi-weekly basis. Please check back for future upcoming dates.

If you have questions about this requirement, please contact:

Aisha Norflett
Director Licensing & Exams
NYC Department of Buildings
Tel: 212-393-2204
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lutron Introduces Residential Advantage Contractor Program

Providing Contractors with Expert Training and Benefits to Help Grow Their Business

This exciting new program is designed exclusively for electrical contractors looking to take full advantage of the hottest trends in smart lighting and LED dimming. Whether it’s learning about how to stay on top of the connected home opportunity, minimizing the risk of callbacks with reliable LED controls, or providing customers with the convenience and energy savings of occupancy sensors – contractors will gain valuable information that will help them grow their businesses. 

By attending the free, two-hour RAC Training, contractors will receive all of the information and tools they need to meet the growing demand for energy-saving products and smart home solutions. Find a training near you.

“With this outstanding training program, Lutron is bringing the connected home opportunity directly to the contractor. Homeowners often turn to trusted, preferred professional installers for these types of solutions and we want to see our contractor network succeed in this growing space,” said Brian Donlon, Sales Vice President North America, at Lutron.

After attending a RAC training, contractors will automatically become members of the Lutron RAC Program and receive one year access to exclusive program benefits including:
  1. Program logo and certificate
  2. Exclusive promotions and specials
  3. Business-building tips designed to increase sales
  4. Full access to RAC tools and resources on a customized contractor portal
To learn more or locate a training event near you, visit our website or contact your Lutron representative.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ground Broken at Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island Campus

Now that ground has been broken on Cornell Tech's 26-story ‘Passive House’ residential tower on Roosevelt Island, developer Forest City Ratner has unveiled details for the school buildings that will rise in the first phase of construction. Phase one, which will cost $800 million, includes the 26-story Passive House student housing building, The Bridge (a start-up incubator), and the first academic building. Phase I is expected to be completed in time for the Fall 2017 semester.
Passive House is a 270,000 square foot residential tower designed by Handel Architects that will soon rise on Cornell Tech's 12-acre mega-campus on Roosevelt Island.

The tower, which will reach 270 feet adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge, will be the tallest structure on the campus, as well as the tallest Passive House in the world.

Passive House is a sustainable building standard that reduces both energy consumption and costs using advanced insulation and ventilation techniques, making the building airtight and creating "a giant thermos."

That means the building is able to maintain a comfortable interior climate without active heating or cooling systems, through the use of a ventilator system that exchanges indoor and outdoor air.

The $115 million tower will have 350 residential units, housing mostly graduate students. The building will also appear to 'shimmer' through the use of a special paint that, "when reflecting light, naturally shifts color from silver to warm champagne." 

Another team, from Morphosis Architects, is designing the first academic building, which will include classrooms, labs, and collaborative educational spaces. The trapezoidal building will feature a central core that aligns with 57th Street on the Manhattan Street grid.

A vast super structure will support a giant solar array, which will allow the building to produce as much energy as its occupants consume.The solar array will generate 1.8 megawatts at daily peak -- the largest such array in New York City.

A four-acre geothermal well field -- composed of deep-earth wells -- exceeds any current geothermal heating system in New York City.

Weiss/Manfredi Architecture is designing 'The Bridge', a seven-story hybrid educational and commercial incubator building on the Queens facing side of the island. It will contain spaces for research and development projects for industry and the academy. It too features a large rooftop solar array and is aiming for net-zero energy use.

The school is also prepared to lessen any danger of flooding. Even before Superstorm Sandy, the team planning the Cornell-Technion campus had planned to create higher ground on which to build.

The developer plans to construct all of the campus buildings at least 19 feet above sea level after studying the 100-year flood plain.

After the storm, Cornell re-thought the positioning of equipment and decided to move it up from the basement level, and strategies have been put in place to retain all storm water onsite.

Passive House is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and will open along with Phase I of the Cornell Tech campus. All campus buildings will seek to achieve LEED Silver status.

The mega project has the goal of creating a sustainable, carbon neutral facility, and strategies are being put in place to create a 'net-zero energy' complex.

The rest of the $2 billion campus, to be built in the next two decades, will eventually encompass 2 million square feet of housing, office, and academic space for over 2,000 people.

The building’s energy consumption is anticipated be 60 percent to 70 percent less than that of conventional high-rises. The total carbon dioxide savings will total 882 tons per year, which is the equivalent of planting 5,300 new trees.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dazzling New Design for Two World Trade Center

A soaring 80-story tower planned for the last unoccupied site at the 16-acre World Trade Center complex may finally get off the ground next year, thanks to a deal with media conglomerates 21st Century Fox and News Corp to anchor the project. The two companies, both headed by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, have signed a letter of intent to lease 1.3 million square feet of space at Two World Trade Center. The deal will help Larry Silverstein finally restart construction at the site, which has been stalled since 2008. Engineering plans are now being developed so that work could begin sometime next year, with completion by September 2021, the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
After the twin towers toppled on September 11, 2001, it seemed inevitable that two new towers would take their place—a symbol of American resilience. The reality, though, was anything but inevitable. While the first of those towers, One World Trade Center, was completed in 2013, the second tower's development has been stalled for years.

Earlier this month, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels replaced Norman Foster as lead designer of the 1,340-foot-tall Two World Trade Center.

His vision for the re-born Two World Trade Center rises up in tiers, like a staircase. The 2.8 million-square-foot tower will be separated into seven sections, each a little smaller than the one below it. At the base of each tier is a deck, which will be landscaped to evoke varying climates, from tropical to arctic.

The architect describes it as being "like seven different buildings stacked on top of each other," and the plan is for each tier to be taken up by a different company. The building will appear to "lean" toward the direction of the One World Trade Center, and is aligned so as to not spoil existing views to St. Paul’s Chapel.
Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and News Corp. will take up headquarters in the bottom two tiers, while the top five will go to future tenants.

Larry Silverstein, the 84-year-old real estate developer who leased the Twin Towers before their destruction, has been trying to get Two World Trade Center built. He commissioned British architect Norman Foster to design the building, which he envisioned as a gleaming 79-story trophy along the Hudson River, crowned by a slanted glass roof divided into four diamonds.

However, when News Corp. signed on as the anchor tenant, his design looked out of touch.

James Murdoch, CEO at News Corp., didn’t care for the building, which he thought was more suited for an investment bank than a modern media company. He brought in Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Thomas Heatherwick, the designers of Google’s new mega-campus, to give it a fresh look.

In addition to the Googleplex, BIG is designing the $2 billion master plan for the Smithsonian Institute's campus in Washington DC, and was awarded $335 million to upgrade storm defenses around Lower Manhattan. The pyramid-shaped W57, a luxury tower on nearing completion on West 57th Street, was one of Ingels' first major projects in America.

The once-dowdy area known as the Financial District has been transformed by an influx of companies from the advertising, design, and tech industries.

“This isn’t your grandfather’s Wall Street,” Silverstein said. “While still the international capital of finance, Lower Manhattan has also remade itself into the new media and entertainment capital of America.”

21st Century Fox and News Corp, which are currently based at 1211 and 1185 Sixth Avenue, plan to relocate their 5,000 employees to 1.3 million square feet at new tower after those leases expire in 2020.

The BIG design is conceived for a media company and incorporates office design with nearly one acre of outdoor terraces with lush plantings, open-planned offices, and will accommodate basketball courts, an indoor running track, cafeterias, and screening rooms.

The base of the tower will be outfitted with open TV studios and newsrooms, with 350,000 square feet devoted to shops and restaurants, as well as a public plaza and access points to the 11 transit lines at the site.

In the parts of the building occupied by Fox and News Corp, caf├ęs for employees will adjoin the gardens.

Elevator shafts—the vital spinal column of any skyscraper—will be concentrated on the western end of the structure, allowing capacious space for newsrooms. Winding staircases set against the glassy exterior wall are meant to ensure that the companies feel internally connected, rather than divided into floors and fiefdoms. The building’s topmost floor will house a Fox screening room with a stunning view.

Because of the complexities of the World Trade Center's redevelopment, engineers will have to retrofit the new design to foundations already constructed by the Port Authority for the shopping mall located beneath the site. The developer has no plans for construction crews to begin disassembling the four below-ground floors.

Work at Two World Trade Center originally began in 2008 but was discontinued while Silverstein waited for a commitment from a major tenant.

Engineering plans are now being developed so that construction could restart sometime in 2016, with a target completion by September 2021, the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The tower is expected to rise along with 3 WTC, another 80-story, 1,170-foot-tall office tower under construction to the south. 3 World Trade Center is scheduled to open in 2018.

That timetable, however, presumes that the project proceeds as planned—never a foregone conclusion at the World Trade Center.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Downtown's Tallest Residential Tower to Rise on Greenwich

A 1,200-foot-tall tower of condos will soon begin to rise in the Financial District. The structure at 125 Greenwich Street will be downtown's tallest residential building, surpassing both 56 Leonard and 30 Park Place. The site, formerly known as 22 Thames Street, has no height restrictions—an attractive feature for developers who want to build huge luxury condominium towers.

Developers SHVO New York and Bizzi & Partners  are preparing to construct a 71-story ultra luxury tower, which is set to become Manhattan’s tallest residential building south of 57th Street..

The height of the new building was originally planned at 1,356 feet, but has since been scaled back.

Nonetheless, 125 Greenwich Street will still claim the title of second tallest building in Lower Manhattan.

The designer of the original tower planned for 22 Thames Street, Rafael Vinoly, has been retained as the project’s architect.

The developers have secured $240 million in construction financing for the 453,630 square foot building.

The ceilings heights will be 13 feet up to the 38th floor, 16 feet high on floors 40 through 65, and an enormous 24 feet high on floors 61 through 71.

The 128 ultra-luxury residences will be separated by mechanical rooms on the 39th and 55th floors.

On the lower levels of the tower, 24 maid’s rooms will be located on floors 8 through 10, just above the building’s lavish amenities and 25,000 square feet of retail space.

Floors 61 through 71 will house 10 enormous penthouses measuring 5,300 square feet each, with sweeping views of New York harbor, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

The building will be topped by a 10,600 square foot duplex penthouse apartment which is rumored to list at nearly $100 million, making it one of Lower Manhattan’s most expensive residences.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Unprecedented Deal for Women, Minority Contractors

Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking steps to direct an increased number of city construction contracts to women and minority-owned businesses. The deal, reached with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, would pertain to $8 billion in projects on city-owned buildings through 2018. The contractors will still be subject to the regular bidding process, and all work must be performed by union workers.

Currently, only 4 percent of city business is conducted with women and minority-owned operations, a number that the administration is hoping to increase.

 "This agreement will help ensure that the city's investments will create a pathway to prosperity for our diverse workers and business owners who help build this city," said Maya Wiley, the mayor's legal counsel.

The contracts will go through the standard bidding process, and all of the work must be done by union outfits. Officials estimate the city will save $347 million through 2018.

Work is needed at scores of aging city buildings, many of which have decaying roofs and infrastructure in desperate need of repair.

Currently, both City Hall and Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence, are undergoing renovation work.

The agreement also decrees that 55 percent of all apprenticeship slots be filled with graduates of New York City public schools.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been engaged in a debate with Governor Cuomo over whether a new 421a program should include a prevailing wage requirement for construction workers.

Mr. Cuomo has won support from the unions by saying the change should pay laborers a "prevailing wage," but city officials have suggested those raises would be too costly.

Construction workers on government projects make significantly more money on average than construction workers on private projects, according to a new report.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Apartment Tower to Utilize Solar and Wind Power

Long Island City will soon be getting the city’s first LEED Silver-designed building that utilizes both solar and wind power.  The building design calls for a wind turbine producing power as well as a solar power screen, a green roof, ample outdoor space and water retention tanks. The 386 foot eco-friendly apartment building will soon rise at 44-28 Purves Street.

The 35-story luxury building will house 270 rental apartments and 2,600 square feet of ground floor retail space. A two-story amenity and retail building will connect to the tower and include a fitness center, yoga studio, a recreational courtyard, a grilling and bar area with a giant outdoor movie screen, and a V-shaped pool with a 50-foot lap lane.

In addition to the LEED certification, the two-building project is slated for acceptance into the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority New Construction Program.

Under development by Brause Realty and Gotham Organization, the 35-story residential rental complex at 44-28 Purves Street, bordered by Thomson Avenue and 44th Drive, is also going through the feng shui certification process, which will “ensure proper energy moves through the project,” said architect Gustavo Rodriguez.

“Wind, water and the energies of the environment are important to incorporate into the design of a building,” said developer David Brause.

The 267,000-square-foot development will have 270 market-rate units, 26,300 square feet of amenities, 15,000 square feet of outdoor space and 75 parking spaces.

Apartments will range from studios to one- and two-bedroom units , all market rate and ranging from 600 to 1,200 square feet , topped by a one-bedroom penthouse with a huge private terrace.

The amenity package is extensive, from a landscaped serenity courtyard, to a fitness center and movement studio, to a recreational courtyard that links two buildings and has a V-shaped pool with a 50-foot lap lane, to a grilling and bar area with communal seating and grass that looks onto a large weather-resistant movie screen.

This area flows into the indoor lounge on the second floor of tower, which will have a full kitchen, fireplace, and comfortable social and work areas. The remainder of the amenity space on the second floor includes a private lounge, a conference area with attached outdoor patio and a children's playroom.

The top floor of the tower will include another communal space for tenants; a lounge with a billiards room, a wet bar, and a terrace.

In total, the project will have more than 8,300 square feet of indoor amenity space and 17,000 square feet of outdoor amenity space.

The lot, a former contaminated brownfield site, is currently in the process of being cleaned up under the EPA’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Court Square is overflowing with new high-rise residential towers; the Rabsky Group is presently constructing a 25-story apartment tower directly across the street at 44-41 Purves Street.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Redeveloped Pier 57 to Become Google's SuperPier

As New Yorkers' minds turn toward the waterfront for the season, construction is underway at the foot of West 15th Street for an enormous market at the once neglected pier Pier 57, which developers RXR and YoungWoo have rechristened as SuperPier. The ambitious plan involves renovating the existing 560,000 square foot building that encompasses the entire pier and turning it into an urban mall. The conversion includes a public marketplace on the lower floor and state-of-the-art office space on the upper floor. Google has signed a letter of intent to take 250,000 of the project's 300,000 square feet of office space.  

Plans also call for 3.5 acres of rooftop open space and a 115-slip marina, along with the installation of re-purposed shipping containers stacked three to four stories high, which will serve as retail space for a collection of tenants.

SuperPier will bring thousands of visitors to the colossal industrial relic, and with its neighbor The High Line, will give Hudson River Park a major shot in the arm.

The Google deal is the latest expansion by the tech giant, which bought the 2.9 million-square-foot office building at 111 Eighth Avenue several years ago, and now extends into the Chelsea Market, and 85 10th Avenue.

Malls and buildings made out of shipping containers aren't really anything new. What is new about the latest shipping container mall coming to the city: it will be at Pier 57, where the development plan from Youngwoo & Associates is finally in motion.

The developer will set up shipping containers as stores for about 60 retailers. Each store can rent a shipping container for $3,000/mo. until the rest of P57 - as the pier's makeover is now known - opens in spring 2015, when the Incuboxes will rise in price to $5,500/month.

The project also includes the creation of about 100,000 square feet of public space at on the property's roof. The Tribeca Film Festival will use the roof as an outdoor theater, a major part of the firm’s proposal for the site.

The Tribeca  Film Festival will establish a permanent outdoor venue on the roof of the pier, offering a mix of film, music and arts-based programming and promoting cultural connections between New York’s artistic community and the general public. In addition to hosting parts of the annual film festival itself, the P57 “Sky Park” will be the year-round backdrop for a variety of exhibitions and performances to educate entertain and inspire independent artists and audiences alike.

The redevelopment will generate much-needed revenue for the Hudson River Park at a time when it is searching for money to renovate the neighboring Pier 40, which needs up to $125 million of renovation work to refurbish its wood pilings. Plans have been floated for that pier, too, including adding office, residential or hotel space to the existing sports fields.

The project also calls for a 90,000 square-feet “Contemporary Culture Center” on the ground floor, envisioned as a unique mix of auction, exhibition, gallery and entertainment space centered on the contemporary arts. Seasonal docks will be provided for kayaks, canoes and other small craft.

Youngwoo & Associates recently developed a Chelsea condominium tower with a car elevator that allows owners to bring their vehicles up to their doors and, during the recession, they snapped up AIG’s art-deco headquarters downtown.

The Marine and Aviation building at West 15th Street has served many different functions over the years. Opened in 1952 after an epic feat of engineering, the pier was designed to be fireproof, immune to erosion, and practically indestructible. It served as a Grace Line shipping terminal and cargo warehouse until the 1960s, when it was transformed into an MTA bus depot.

In 2003, this enormous shell was abandoned by the city, only to gain infamy during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when it was used as a jail for thousands of protestors. 

The redevelopment project won unanimous approval from the City Council back in 2013, after having successfully negotiated the city's public review process.

Conversion of the pier, a National Historic Registry structure, is estimated to cost more than $400 million.

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