Manhattan milestones continue, VT problems are identified, and a tower is greenlit in Jersey City.

Rendering of 185 Broadway in NYC’s Financial District; image from SL Green

World’s Highest Residential Club Unveiled for Central Park Tower

Developer Extell has unveiled renderings of Central Park Tower’s 100th-floor residential club, an amenity perched more than 1,000 ft above NYC’s Billionaires’ Row, New York YIMBY reported in January. The tower, also known as 217 West 57th Street, topped out at 1,550 ft last year (ELEVATOR WORLD, November 2019), giving it the highest roof height in the Western Hemisphere, and the planned club will be the highest residential lounge in the world. It will span 8,300 ft2 and include a private ballroom, a dining room, a bar, a full-service kitchen and a wine and cigar lounge. The club and the building’s residential interiors were designed by Rottet Studio.

The source noted the crown’s glass cladding was beginning to take shape and that work on the exterior should wrap up by the middle of the year. Central Park Tower was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill and will contain 179 residences. The developer is expecting a US$4-billion sellout. Completion is expected by the end of the year.

Mixed-Use Tower Quickly Rising in NYC’s Financial District

Construction on 185 Broadway, a 31-story mixed-use building in NYC’s Financial District, was up to the second floor in mid-February, New York YIMBY reported. The 260,000-ft2 project, developed by SL Green and designed by FXCollaborative, sits directly adjacent to one of the entrances to the Fulton Street subway station, which the building will wrap around. The tower will hold 209 apartments — 63 of them dedicated to affordable housing — ranging from studios to three-bedroom units. There will be three floors of commercial space, with streetside entrances separate from the main residential entrances and lobby, and the ground floor will house two flagship retail spaces. The site is one block east of the World Trade Center complex and is surrounded by numerous restaurants and stores.

The residential portion of the building will be covered in a glass curtain wall, and the structure will incorporate several setbacks, some topped with landscaped terraces. The developer is aiming for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy by March 2021.

Report: MTA Escalator, Elevator Maintenance Subpar

In the wake of escalator steps “shredding” in February 2019 at a subway station in Midtown, a report from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Inspector General (IG) found the MTA’s escalator and elevator maintenance subpar, with “most” maintenance visits incomplete, never scheduled or canceled in the six weeks before the incident, sources including the New York Post and CBS New York reported in February. A result of worn-out guide rails, the 2019 incident at the Fifth Avenue/53rd Street station during rush hour could have been avoided had the MTA performed necessary maintenance, the report found. The superintendent responsible for the station’s equipment said he was understaffed, with the 10 mechanics in charge of maintenance frequently called out to other emergencies. In addition to understaffing, the report found MTA lacks a system to effectively track maintenance. After the escalator mishap, MTA hired 15 mechanics and 40 helpers to assist with maintenance of its 455 elevators and escalators, and transit officials have agreed with the IG’s mandate to “create a new, cohesive reporting system” and implement training by the end of 2020.

Jersey City Planners OK 27-Story Mixed-Use Tower

Planning officials in Jersey City, New Jersey, have given their approval for a 27-story mixed-use project, Jersey Digs reported in February. Known as 622 Summit Avenue, the 285-ft-tall structure will bring 209 residential units, 1,372 ft2 of ground- floor retail and 16,000 ft2 of office space to the area. The design, by Hoboken-based MVMK Architecture, will have a podium featuring red brick to complement surrounding structures, with the upper floors clad in aluminum panels in matte white and charcoal gray. The southeast corner of the building will havecantilevered balconies starting on the ninth floor, and the rooftop will include amenity space with a gym and lounge. The development is planned for a tract of four contiguous parcels at 622-628 Summit Avenue, just north of the Five Corners intersection. The project is being developed by 626 SummitAve LLC.

2,100-Plus NYC Elevators Cited Soon After Passing Inspections

A review of elevator violations in NYC over the past couple of years found that more than 2,100 units were cited for problems just days or weeks after they received passing grades from private inspectors, NBC New York reported in January. The station analyzed more than 400,000 elevator inspections between 2017 and 2019 and found 2,127 cases in which elevators received inspection reports of “satisfactory” or “no violation” but received city-issued violations within the following three months. The source noted the August 2019 incident at an apartment building in the Kips Bay neighborhood in which a man was crushed to death in a malfunctioning elevator (EW, October 2019). The incident occurred three weeks after the elevator passed a safety inspection, city records showed.

The city’s approximately 70,000 elevators are subject to two annual inspections — one by a private contractor hired by the NYC Department of Buildings and the other by a private company hired by the building owner. If the city receives a tenant complaint about an elevator, an inspector on the city payroll will be sent to examine it. The source examined these records to reach its conclusions about the discrepancies regarding the inspections. In one example, an elevator in a building received seven city violations in the first nine months of 2017, then received a “satisfactory” rating from a private company in October. Residents began complaining 20 days after that inspection, and the elevator was cited for a dozen violations over the next two years.

Mall of America Station Opens With New Escalators

Minneapolis/St. Paul’s Metro Transit opened the Mall of America station in Bloomington, Minnesota, in February, following more than a year of renovation. The US$25- million project for the station, on the east side of the megamall, now serves passengers for the Blue Line light rail; Red Line rapid bus; and nine local bus routes, with more to be added, Star Tribune reported. The largest transit hub in the state now boasts escalators that deposit transit passengers directly inside the mall, as opposed to requiring them to walk outside before entering. Approximately 44 million customers visit the mall annually, with nearly 3 million using the station and transit as their entry point.

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Elevator World | April 2020 Issue Cover