News

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Week of 1/20/20

LERCH BATES ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT, ACQUISITION

Lerch Bates Inc. has named Eric Rupe president, effective January 1. In this role, he oversees all aspects of the consulting business globally, including elevators and escalators, façade access and building logistics. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, Lerch Bates has offices throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, India and South America. Rupe joined Lerch Bates in 2010 with 20 years of sales, operations and management experience, including corporate positions with KONE. He held various roles at Lerch Bates, including elevator consultant, general manager Chicago, Northeast area vice president and executive vice president. Bart Stephan, former president and CEO, has become CEO of the parent company of Lerch Bates and Pie Consulting and Engineering, an Arvada, Colorado-headquartered firm Lerch Bates acquired late last year. At the time, Lerch Bates observed, “Pie is a recognized expert in building enclosure consulting and forensic engineering services, bringing an added dimension to the existing vertical transportation, façade access and logistic consulting units at Lerch Bates.”

THYSSENKRUPP PROVIDES 234 UNITS TO NEW CHINA METRO LINE

thyssenkrupp Elevator is providing 234 elevators and escalators to Metro Line 1 in Luoyang, central China, one of four historical capitals where 15 dynasties ruled. The first metro line serving the region, Metro Line 1 has 19 stops along 23 km, covering the main passenger flow in the east-west direction north of the Luohe River. Escalator installation is slated for completion in August, with the metro line set to go into operation in 2021. thyssenkrupp observes the contract underscores its focus on the Chinese market, where it inaugurated a new test tower in Zhongshan in 2019 and opened a multipurpose facility in Shanghai in 2016. Throughout China, thyssenkrupp has four factories and approximately 11,000 employees.

CTBUH CONFERENCE ANNOUNCED, OPEN FOR REGISTRATION

The next Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Conference has been scheduled for October 19-23 in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Themed “Humanizing High Density: People, Nature & the Urban Realm,” the event focuses on how high density can support equitable and healthy living, working and social well-being. It will explore how tall buildings can better serve surrounding communities and the environments in which they are located. The synopsis is available here, and for those wishing to present, abstracts are due on January 31.

BROOKFIELD, TEMASEK TEAM UP FOR THYSSENKRUPP BID

Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings are planning to put in a bid for thyssenkrupp’s prized EUR15-billion (US$16.6-billion) elevator division, several news outlets, including Reuters, reported on January 10. thyssenkrupp has been under pressure from shareholders after numerous profit warnings. It plans to sell all or part of its elevator business, the world’s fourth-largest industry player and by far thyssenkrupp’s most profitable asset. It set a January 13 deadline for binding bids. The Brookfield-Temasek team is the latest bidder to become publicly known. Others include a consortium consisting of Blackstone, Carlyle and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, and another composed of Advent, Cinven and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Other OEMs said to be in the race are KONE, which may team with private equity firm CVC, and Hitachi Elevator. thyssenkrupp’s board planned to meet on January 15 to discuss the sale and was expected to narrow the field of bidders for a final round of talks.

LARGEST HILTON IN QATAR OPENS IN DOHA

The 38-story Hilton Doha The Pearl Residences, the largest Hilton in Qatar, has opened, Travel Daily reports. Fahad Khalid Al-Ghunaim, CEO of owner Kuwaiti-backed First Qatar Real Estate Development Co., said the development — the company's first hospitality project — reflects its confidence in the Qatari market, while its sustainability "sends a clear signal of our commitment to the very highest quality build and outfitting." Compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, its elevator system is outfitted with Braille buttons, audible alerts and lowered buttons. The property is in The Pearl Qatar's Qanat Quartier and is 30 min from Hamad International Airport.

Week of 1/13/20

IEE EXPO 2020 ORGANIZERS FORESEE BUSY, INFORMATIVE EVENT

Organizers of the eighth edition of the International Elevator and Escalator (IEE) Expo, planned on February 27-29 in Mumbai, said more than 100 exhibitors had secured spaces “to transform into magnificent real-life examples of elevators and escalators and give visitors a personalized experience of the latest high-end elevator technologies.” The team from Messe Frankfurt learned attendees — including architects, developers, government entities and urban planners — will be on the lookout for high-quality elevator interior finishes, lighting options and energy-saving features for multiple projects. Godrej Properties Ltd. Manager of Procurement Punam Ingle, Sr. said the company is developing approximately 30 projects across India that will need innovative, aesthetically pleasing elevators. Metro and railway systems will be looking for high-capacity, energy-efficient elevator and escalator systems with remote monitoring and alarm systems. For more information, visit the Messe Frankfurt expo website.

TJEI ESTABLISHES TRAINING, DISTRIBUTION FACILITY IN INDIA

Toshiba Johnson Elevators (India) Pvt. Ltd. (TJEI) recently announced the opening of its Training Center and Distribution Center in Chennai, India. The training facility is designed to improve the competence and expertise of field engineers for elevator sales, installation and maintenance, the company says. The complex will also have a storage area for elevator components to be used for installation and maintenance, and will function as a reliability center equipped with various quality-control facilities.

SKYWAY WITH FIVE LIFTS, FIVE ESCALATORS FOR INDIAN CITY

A skyway with lifts and escalators could be complete by April at Aramghar Crossroads in southern Hyderabad, The Hans India reported in December 2019. Officials said the structure would rise 6 m, with a 2.65-m-wide walkway with five escalators and five elevators spread across 22.58 m around Aramghar Crossroads in the Rajendranagar area. To protect users from monsoon rains and high summer temperatures, the skyway will be covered in polycarbonate sheets, which officials said will add aesthetic appeal. Numerous foot overbridges are also on the drawing board, but the source did not say whether they will be outfitted with vertical-transportation equipment.

CMRL PLANS INCLUDE 20-STORY BUILDING ATOP ELEVATED STATION

Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) is merging real estate and transportation in a plan to build a 20-story building above an elevated station at Wimco Nagar, near the Thiruvottiyur neighborhood, The Times of India reported in January. The rail station, currently under construction, includes a four-level parking facility below the lines and is expected to be ready by December. The nature of the building, or even its design, has not yet been determined, a rail official said, but it includes a provision for 10 elevators. "It could either be a residential or an office space, depending on the demand after the extension line is opened and the area develops," the official said." We don't have a design for the structure yet, but we are laying the foundation for the structure now for future development." CMRL sees the project as a source of additional revenue, and is planning similar structures at other elevated depots.

SOUTH KOREAN BUILDER SNAGS BIG CONTRACT IN QATAR

South Korean builder Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. (HECC) announced in January it had won an order worth US$530 million to build a 70-story office tower in Qatar's Lusail City Financial District, Yonhap News Agency reports. The contract builds on HECC's strong presence in Qatar, where it has won orders for 22 projects totaling more than US$9 billion since 1979. Its first project in the Persian Gulf state was a hotel. The most recent contract, awarded by Qatar's Lusail Real Estate Development Co., is for an office structure with five underground levels. A rendering shows it could be joined by another, nearly identical tower. Completion is anticipated by October 2022.

45-STORY MIXED-USE TOWER PLANNED IN TEL AVIV

The Lubinsky Group, owner of a factory building in Tel Aviv, Israel, is promoting a plan to demolish part of the structure and replace it with a 45-story mixed-use tower, Globes reported in December 2019. The factory at one time manufactured soda siphons, but has housed offices in recent years. The new tower would hold office and commercial space on the first 34 floors, and apartments on the top 11 floors. The source said a hotel might also be included within the structure. The design by architect Yigal Levy would preserve part of the factory building, which would be connected to the tower by a bridge. The site, near the Hashalom railway station, is surrounded by high rises and other towers either under construction or planned. No construction timeline was given.

IN MEMORIAM: SIMHA LUSTIG

Simha Lustig of Tel Aviv, Israel, founder of Eng. S. Lustig Consulting Engineers (ESL) — the first vertical-transportation (VT) consultancy in Israel — passed away on December 7, 2019, at age 93. Lustig and his wife, Rita, both Holocaust survivors, immigrated to Israel in 1950 following Lustig's graduation from the University of Bratislava in Slovakia with a degree in Electrical Engineering. His career began when he joined a local elevator company as an engineer, going on to start ESL in 1956. ESL was, and still is, involved in many prestigious projects developed in Israel, as well as internationally, over the last 70 years. As chairman of the Israeli Elevator and Escalator Technical Committee, Lustig instigated creation of all new Israeli VT standards, as well as adapted many European ones. He was a longtime representative of Israel on ISO Technical Committee 178, Working Group 6. Lustig lent his knowledge and experience to the development of many new international standards and revisions of several others. Since 1986, he had been country coordinator for the International Association of Elevator Engineers and an active member of many local technical associations and committees. Survivors include children, longtime ELEVATOR WORLD contributor and correspondent and CEO of ESL Ami Lustig, Dubi and Hagit; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

COUPLE DROWNS IN ELEVATOR IN ISRAEL

A funeral was held on January 6 for a 25-year-old couple who died from drowning in a flooded elevator in their Tel Aviv, Israel, apartment building’s parking area on January 5, Haaretz is among news outlets to report. Heavy rains are thought to have caused an electrical short that caused the elevator to malfunction, trapping the couple inside. As the parking area flooded, water poured into the elevator. A passerby heard the couple banging on the elevator doors and called for rescue services, which took “hours” to arrive. The pair were pronounced dead at a hospital, and the source says their families are questioning why emergency services were delayed, why the building had been approved and why (as of January 6) they had not yet been contacted by fire and police departments.

Week of 1/6/20

INDIA'S CENTRAL RAILWAY TO ADD ELEVATORS, ESCALATORS

India's Central Railway (CR) is planning a number of service improvements in 2020, including more foot-overbridges, (FOBs) escalators and elevators, the Times of India reports. CR installed nine new escalators to platforms in 2019, bringing the total to 67 in the Mumbai division and 106 across the CR line. An official said up to 123 more escalators are planned, along with 127 more elevators at station platforms. Plans also include 56 more FOBs, which would bring CR's total to 158. Other planned improvements include five more air-conditioned trains, which will be equipped with closed-circuit television cameras to deter criminal activity, and WiFi service at stations.

FOB WITH ESCALATORS TO REPLACE COLLAPSED ONE IN MUMBAI

A foot overbridge (FOB) with escalators will be built to replace one that collapsed in Mumbai in March 2019, resulting in seven deaths, various news outlets, including the Mumbai Mirror, report. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp. (BMC), the city’s governing body, approved the new FOB to replace a part of the Himalaya bridge connecting the north end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Badaruddin Tayabji Lane, and has hired a consultant to design it. BMC expects the FOB to start taking shape in mid-2021, once a general contractor is hired. The previous collapse was blamed on officials' failure to properly inspect and upgrade the structure. 

ELECTRICIAN KILLED WHILE WORKING ON ELEVATOR IN INDIA

A 52-year-old electrician working on an elevator in Mumbai, India, was killed when the elevator dragged him down the shaft, several outlets, including ARY News, report. The elevator at the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corp. (MSRTC) building had been repaired the day before but malfunctioned again. The electrician was not part of the elevator company's repair team but offered to assist a company service technician. As he was working on the lift, the doors closed on his legs and the unit descended, dragging him down. He suffered broken legs and a head injury, and was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died en route. Some of the man's coworkers at MSRTC said the elevator had been poorly maintained, and that several people had become stuck inside in the past.

MULTITOWER MIXED-USE MEGAPROJECT PROGRESSING IN BRISBANE

Queen's Wharf, a mixed-use megadevelopment with multiple towers ranging from 26-63 stories tall, is progressing in Brisbane, Australia, The Urban Developer reports. What the source describes as “more than three Olympic pools worth" of concrete has been poured for what will be the largest basement and underground car park in Queensland, and approximately 250 workers are onsite on the east end of William Street. Expected to attract an additional 1.39 million visitors annually to the city, the plan includes a pedestrian bridge over the Brisbane River, public space equivalent to 12 football fields, luxury hotels, bars, restaurants and 2,000 apartments. Portions of Queen's Wharf have already opened, with the towers heading toward fitout in 2022. The developer is Destination Brisbane Consortium, which consists of Star Group, Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook.

Week of 12/30/19

JOHNSON LIFTS LANDS 119-UNIT ORDER FOR INDIAN METRO

Johnson Lifts has won an order to install 119 elevators at 29 stations of an upcoming Pune, India, Metro project, Elets Smart City reports. The Chennai, India-based vertical-transportation equipment manufacturer has begun sourcing components for the INR520-million (US$7.3-million) project, and expects to complete the work by the end of 2021. The contract comes on top of other late-2019 metro and railway projects the company has landed, valued at more than INR6.7 billion (US$94.4 million). Those projects are in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru. In a sign of optimism about its business prospects, Johnson Lifts invested about INR1.4 billion (US$19.4 million) in capacity expansion during 2019, the source says.

HITACHI (CHINA) PRODUCTION PASSES 100,000 UNITS FOR 2019

Hitachi Elevator (China) Co., Ltd. of Guangzhou signed a 110-unit contract with Evergrande Group on December 24, 2019, pushing the company's sales of vertical conveyances past the 100,000-unit milestone for the year, Yahoo Finance reports. The new contract calls for Hitachi to provide elevators and escalators to Evergrande's Hongqiao International Airport project in Shanghai. Hitachi’s other 2019 milestones included contracts to provide vertical transportation for Guangzhou Poly Zeng Cheng Finance Headquarters, Changsha Ping An Wealth Center, Chow Tai Fook Finance Tower in Qianhai, Shenzhen, Guiyang Zhongtian Future Ark, ArtPark9 in Beijing and other high-rise landmarks. The company also won Guiness Book of World Records recognition for the fastest elevator in the world, a 1,260 m/min unit at the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre. In another December 2019 milestone, Guangzhou Metro Line 21 entered into full operation, the source reports. The 61.5-km, 21-station line uses 273 Hitachi VT units — 255 escalators and 48 elevators.

MAN CLINGS TO CABLE, RESCUED AFTER ELEVATOR SHAFT FALL

A man working on renovations at a building in Liupanshui, China, clung to an elevator cable after falling into an empty shaft on December 22, Yahoo News is among outlets to report. The man called an elevator to the 30th floor, then stepped through the doors into an empty shaft. When he grabbed onto the cable, an alarm alerted police, and firefighters were called to the scene. By the time firefighters rescued the man, he had slid from the 30th to the fifth floors.