News

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Week of 5/20/19

THYSSENKRUPP, INDIAN PARTNER LAUNCH HOME ELEVATOR CENTER

Chennai, India-based Elite Elevators, in partnership with thyssenkrupp, inaugurated its first Home Elevator Experience Center showroom in the Prestige Meridian tower in Bengaluru, India, on May 8, the Business Standard reports. Among those present were thyssenkrupp Access Solutions Managing Director Andrew Warbrick and Vimal Babu, head of sales for Elite, which represents thyssenkrupp Access throughout India. Catering to sales and aftersales service, the showroom will provide customers an up-close look at and live demonstrations of home elevators and stairlifts. The source observed the showroom "is the first step in thyssenkrupp's endeavor to expand its presence across the country," and that Elite plans to launch additional showrooms in the near future.

ESCALATORS PROPOSED FOR MUMBAI RAIL STATION

Officials in Mumbai, India, are weighing a proposal to install escalators at the Churchgate subway station, one of the busiest stations on the Western Railway (WR) line, the Times of India reports. The Municipal Corp. of Greater Mumbai, also known as the BMC, had received a request from the WR's divisional engineer seeking the escalators, as they would come under BMC's jurisdiction. A senior official said BMC agrees that escalators are needed at the station and said the proposal would be put before higher authorities. The Churchgate station is the only station on the line that has no escalators.

INTERLIFT ORGANIZER EXPANDS TRANSPORTATION, ONLINE OPTIONS

Interlift organizer AFAG has expanded transportation options and introduced an online service center, through which exhibitors can arrange services such as booth equipment, furnishings, cleaning and waste disposal, for the international tradeshow planned on October 15-18 at Augsburg Messe in Augsburg, Germany. In addition to shuttle buses from the Munich Airport to the main train station in Augsburg, a further connection to the bus station in Munich will be set up. All three lines will transport visitors directly to Interlift. Timetables are expected to be online by September. Available now, the online service center allows exhibitors to book staff and hotel rooms, track the status of their services, download booth layouts, examine electric-power layouts, keep track of their budgets and more. Exhibitors are reminded to secure visas, book accommodations and travel — for which discounts are available — on time.

KONE, SCHINDLER REPORTEDLY EYEING THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR

In the wake of thyssenkrupp AG announcing plans to launch its elevator business in an initial public offering (IPO), rather than splitting the company in two, KONE and Schindler are reportedly exploring the viability of a bid, Reuters is among news outlets to report. The source observes thyssenkrupp’s EUR14-billion (US$15.7-billion) elevator division is its most profitable. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Reuters says it is unclear if such a deal would face “significant antitrust hurdles similar to thyssenkrupp’s failed joint venture with [India’s] Tata Steel” or if KONE could fund an all-cash deal. That is why thyssenkrupp management, they say, prefer an IPO. KONE approached thyssenkrupp about an elevator merger in 2016, and KONE’s top investor Antti Herlin is now working with Bank of America to study options. Schindler is also expected to study options, but a source says antitrust issues would be more likely in that case, since thyssenkrupp and Schindler have greater geographic overlap than thyssenkrupp and KONE. “We’ve been saying for years that consolidation would make sense in our industry, and our thinking has not changed,” a KONE spokeswoman said.

ESCALATOR REPLACEMENT AT SMRT OFF TO A SLOW START

The replacement of 233 escalators at 42 Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) stations is off to a slow start after launching in summer 2016, with only about 25% of the project completed, CNA reports. Fifty-four units have been completely refurbished, and work is underway on another 21. It was previously reported that Otis Singapore was contracted for the units, which upgrades ones originally installed in the 1980s. New safety features being implemented include handrail speed monitoring, dual-speed functionality and directional traffic lights. SMRT says the majority of the work is scheduled for completion by 2022 and that “lessons learned in the initial phase have allowed us to speed up the remaining refurbishment works.”

SECOND-TALLEST TOWER IN JAPANESE PREFECTURE RISING

Sky Grand Tower is rising to a 48-story, 172.4-m-tall height to become the second-tallest building in Japan's Chiba Prefecture behind the 49-story, 180.82-m-tall Apa Hotel & Resort, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is among news outlets to report. Part of the six-tower Makuhari Bay Park residential development, Sky Grand Tower is being built by a team of developers that includes Mitsui Fudusan Residential, Nomura Real Estate, Mitsubishi Jisho Residence and Itochu Urban Development. Makuri Bay Park is taking shape around Wakaba 3-Chome Park in Makuhari, a commercial district built in the 1980s on reclaimed land just outside Tokyo on Tokyo Bay.

ELEVATOR REPLACEMENT PLAN PITCHED BY YEREVAN LEADER

Hayk Sargsyan, deputy mayor of Yerevan, Armenia, pitched a plan on May 13 to replace all 3,600 elevators in the city over the next three-and-a-half to four years, News.am reports. The plan would also involve installing solar panels to reduce the cost of electricity used by the new elevators, which would be paid for by apartment residents over 25 years. Elevator replacement, which Sargsyan says takes up to 40 days, will be performed only with the consent of all residents of an apartment building.

Week of 5/13/19

IPO FOR THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR PART OF NEW STRATEGY

The executive board of thyssenkrupp AG has proposed to the supervisory board its elevator business be launched in an initial public offering (IPO), rather than splitting the company in two as thyssenkrupp Industrials and thyssenkrupp Materials. The move is part of what the executive board describes as a “fundamental strategic realignment” announced on May 10. The move is expected to end antitrust proceedings of the European Commission related to thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG’s alleged role in suspected cartel agreements. thyssenkrupp and India’s Tata Steel assume the planned joint venture will be blocked by the commission in light of concerns not resolved by a market survey done in the wake of several concessions by the steel giants. thyssenkrupp plans to reintegrate its Steel Europe business back into the group in the third quarter of this fiscal year. “The economic downturn and its effects on business development and the current capital market have led to the separation not being able to be realized as planned,” the company said. “Instead, thyssenkrupp will fundamentally realign itself to significantly improve operating performance.”

HIGH-RISE MALAYSIAN HOUSING DEVELOPER BULLISH ON EXPANSION

Cicet Asia Development Sdn Bhd, developer of the high-rise Greenfield Residence towers in Bandar Sunway township in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, tells The Malaysian Reserve all residences in tower one are sold, 75% in tower two are sold, and the outlook is good for sales in tower three. Buildings in the 816-unit development are 35-37 stories tall, and Cicet Asia Director Tan Swee Ee says the company wants to acquire additional land on which to build. “One of the short-term challenges we face is the slow market sentiment, but we are encouraged by the continuation of the country’s infrastructure plans announced by the government,” he said. 

27-STORY ART SERIES HOTEL TO OPEN IN PERTH CBD SOON

A 27-story Art Series hotel being developed by French hotel giant Accor in partnership with Perth, Australia, developer George Atzemis is scheduled for completion in September at 900 Hay Street in the Perth CBD, The Urban Developer reports. The 250-room structure will join eight Art Series hotels — which feature custom furniture and original artwork — in Australian cities including Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. The Hay Street tower will be dedicated to a yet-to-be-named Australian artist, and, according to Accor Chief Operating Officer Simon McGrath, will be a “truly world-class asset, which will help underpin a broader economic contribution to Perth.”

EW 2019 PHOTO CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 15

The deadline for entries in the 2019 ELEVATOR WORLD Photo Contest has been extended to May 15. Submit your photos here for consideration by a panel of EW judges, who will choose up to 20 finalists from each category. Those finalists will then be presented online during the month of June, where readers can vote to determine each category’s winner. Winners and runners-up will be featured in the August 2019 issue of EW and highlighted online. All qualified submissions will be posted in a special photo contest gallery online, as well. Winners will receive US$250 cash or the equivalent in Elevator World, Inc. educational products or advertising. Details can be found here.

Week of 5/6/19

THYSSENKRUPP PROVIDING 123 UNITS FOR ISTANBUL CRUISE DOCK

thyssenkrupp Elevator is providing the vertical-transportation equipment for Istanbul’s Galataport harbor dock, which is expected to open in 2020, the company recently announced. During a first phase of the project, thyssenkrupp is installing 66 elevators and 21 escalators. A second phase will include 36 additional units. The port facility will offer a terminal, offices and food courts to cruise ship passengers. It will have the capacity to dock three large ships at a time and handle up to 15,000 passengers a day. Annually, the facility will serve up to 1.5 million passengers and crew members. Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, is world-renowned for its cultural and heritage sites.

DNA-INSPIRED DESIGN FOR PAIR OF SHENZHEN TOWERS

Steven Holl Architects took inspiration from DNA for a pair of 150- and 200-m-tall towers in Shenzhen, China, that will house residences and headquarters for biotech company iCarbonX, respectively, dezeen reports. Set to break ground in the fall, the shorter, cylindrical and taller, carved rectangular towers will  be sheathed in translucent glass that lets in varied levels of light depending on the buildings' needs. The towers will be joined by pair of garden bridges resembling carbon bonds at the bottom and top. Lined with native tropical plants, the bridges will house galleries, meeting spaces and a health-and-wellness nutrition circuit.

ESFI RELEASES WORKPLACE SAFETY INFORMATION  

Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a nonprofit educational and training organization, has released new workplace safety information to reduce electrical injuries. The collection includes instructional videos, infographics, tips, templates and tools employers can use to promote electrical safety in the workplace. ESFI cites that more than 21,000 workers in the U.S. have been injured, and 1,500 have died in workplace electrical accidents since 2008.

EW 2019 PHOTO CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 15

The deadline for entries in the 2019 ELEVATOR WORLD Photo Contest has been extended to May 15. Submit your photos here for consideration by a panel of EW judges, who will choose up to 20 finalists from each category. Those finalists will then be presented online during the month of June, where readers can vote to determine each category’s winner. Winners and runners-up will be featured in the August 2019 issue of EW and highlighted online. All qualified submissions will be posted in a special photo contest gallery online, as well. Winners will receive US$250 cash or the equivalent in Elevator World, Inc. educational products or advertising. Details can be found here.

TOKYO PLAN WITH 200-M-TALL MIXED-USE TOWER APPROVED

A plan to demolish older offices, apartments, houses and temples to make way for a 200-m-tall mixed-use tower on a 1.6-ha site close to Roppongi Station in Tokyo has been approved by town planners, Japan Property Central reports. Nomura Real Estate, Ken Corp. and Takenaka Corp. are behind Nishjazabu 3 Chome North-East District Redevelopment, which dates back to 2004. It will include approximately 550 apartments, an international luxury brand hotel and retail, along with infrastructure upgrades such as widening of the road between the tower and Roppongi Hills. The plan also calls for a new, 17-m-tall replacement temple.

30-, 32-STORY TOWERS PART OF SINGAPORE MIXED-USE PLAN

Singapore developer GuocoLand plans to build Guoco Midtown, featuring a 30-story, 770,000-sq.-ft. office tower and a 32-story, 200-unit apartment tower in the local central business district, World Construction Network reports. Scheduled for completion by 2022, the project is at the intersection of two development corridors along Beach and Ophir-Rochor roads and will also include a two-story retail building. An underground, ground-level and elevated pedestrian network will connect Guoco Midtown with neighboring districts and metro stations. "Guoco Tower's opening in stages between 2016 and 2017 brought a new lease on life to Tanjong Pagar," GuocoLand CEO Raymond Choong said. "We envision Guoco Midtown doing the same for the Beach Road area."

KONE TO EQUIP NEW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN CHINA

KONE has won an order to deliver 216 elevators to the Tianfu International Airport in Chengdu, China, the company announced on April 26. The airport, in the capital of Sichuan province, will handle a projected 40 million passengers and 700,000 mT of cargo per year, the OEM said in the announcement. KONE will provide 135 machine-room-less MonoSpace® and 81 TranSys™ elevators, all using its EcoDisc® hoisting technology. To help cope with such high volumes of traffic and ensure equipment availability, the company is also installing its E-link™ system, which allows real-time monitoring of equipment status, traffic and faults. The airport is scheduled to open in 2020. 

IEES CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

The deadline for the second-annual International Elevator and Escalator Symposium’s (IEES) call for abstracts is June 14. The IEES Technical Committee and will then review them and share their assessments on July 8. The technical and educational symposium, to be held at Bally’s Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas on December 3-4, is organized by Liftinstituut Solutions and Elevator World, Inc. This year’s theme is safety of elevators and escalators during their life cycle: maintenance and inspections. Papers can be submitted here; for more information, visit website.

70TH ANNUAL NAEC CONVENTION & EXPO IN GRAND RAPIDS

The National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) announces its 70th Annual Convention & 2019 Exposition is coming up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on September 16-19. The largest vertical-transportation industry event in North America, the event will host more than 200 companies exhibiting their products and technology, and provide networking and education opportunities. A variety of sessions will allow participants to earn continuing-education credits, and roundtable discussions will provide a chance to discuss relevant issues and share experiences in small group settings. Social functions, including the newly created main event CELEBRATE, will be focused on celebrating NAEC’s 70th anniversary and solidifying industry camaraderie. For more information about attending or exhibiting, contact Megan Ragan at phone: (770) 760-9660 or email.

Week of 4/29/19

SKYWALK VT EQUIPMENT WILL BE MONITORED ONLINE IN INDIAN CITY

The administrative authority responsible for civic amenities and some infrastructural assets in greater Bangalore, India, plans to start online monitoring of lifts and escalators at up to 25 skywalks by June in a public/private partnership with Bosch Technologies, the Deccan Herald reports. During a meeting on April 23, officials decided to install the devices in an effort to enhance safety and equipment reliability. Online monitoring will allow the authority to pinpoint and fix problems as they occur. The authority hopes it will motivate more pedestrians to use the skywalks instead of crossing busy roads.

HANGING GARDENS THE CENTRAL FEATURE OF SINGAPORE TOWER

Heatherwick Studios drew inspiration for the approximately 31-story-tall EDEN residential tower in Singapore's Orchard Road neighborhood from first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's vision of a "city in a garden," the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports, citing Architects' Journal. Each of EDEN's 20 luxury residences will have its own generous garden balcony, "recreating the verdant backyard access once ubiquitous across homes here," Thomas Heatherwick said. The façade is being constructed of concrete walls displaying an abstract map of Singapore's terrain. Developed by Swire Properties, EDEN is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

TOWER WITH CO-WORKING SPACE PROPOSED IN NORTH SYDNEY CBD

Chinese-backed developer Maville Group has proposed a 33-story office tower at 173 Pacific Highway in the central business district (CBD) of North Sydney, Commercial Real Estate reports. Set to take shape on the site of a four-story, Maville-owned building, the development would include six floors set aside for startups and co-working space, and cantilever over 116 Miller Street, also owned by Maville. A planning application said delivering smaller floorplates and co-working space will enhance the diversity of the North Sydney office market, which saw WeWork join three other co-working space providers in the market this month. The architect is Woods Bagot.

GENSLER-DESIGNED TOWERS FOR HOT MELBOURNE OFFICE MARKET

Developer Charter Hall aims to address demand for office space in Melbourne, Australia, which has been experiencing record-low vacancy, with a pair of 35- and 32-story towers designed by tech architecture specialist Gensler, Commercial Real Estate reports. Located at 555 Collins Street, the first, taller tower is expected to have a builder by October and be complete by 2022. Construction on the adjacent tower is expected to start once an existing lease expires in 2022. The glassy structures have been designed to be connected by walkways. Gensler's London office, which is working with local firm Cox, says the development will appeal to a range of tenants, not just tech companies.