Award-Winning Overhaul

Success on fast-tracked redevelopment earns new contract, award for Hunter Roberts


Over the course of 18 months in 2014 and 2015, the five-member team of Hunter Roberts professionals successfully delivered an overwhelmingly complex gut renovation and structural infill project for Brookfield Properties, a project so remarkable that one Brookfield executive publicly lauded the team as “energetic”, “diligent”, and utmost “professional.” This team, working at One North End Avenue, decommissioned a three-story trading hall; turned the space into three one-story floors of office space; completely overhauled the elevator, escalator, and emergency stair transportation systems within the building; and performed so well that Hunter Roberts was awarded more work in the building.

Construction commenced in December 2013 when the project team dismantled and demolished a three-story trading hall on the seventh floor. This space was then infilled with two new floors (eight and nine), which were structurally supported by the tenth floor. This required our team to reinforce the high steel trusses with steel plating.

The addition of these new floors created a domino effect in the internal transportation of the building. The team removed two single-height escalators and two double-height escalators, then added two new elevators to compensate for the additional floors of tenant space. In order to install these elevators, the construction team had to remove a staircase running from floors one through ten, relocate the active fire command center and smoke purge system at the base, and convert the stairwell into an elevator shaft. Removing this staircase led to the construction of new stair towers within the building as well as the extension of active stairwells to support emergency egress.

If the complete overhaul of the internal transport system sounds complicated, it is doubly so when you consider the fact that the building was fully occupied throughout the construction process. The project team held countless logistics meetings with Brookfield and CME, the major tenant at One North End. These meetings developed practices to minimize impact to the daily operations of building occupants; such as providing protection for an active data center that supports the 3rd floor trading hall. Of course, much of the conversation also revolved around safety for the tenants, ensuring that emergency egress was maintained while removing and adding stairwells, elevators, and the fire command center. To execute the structural infill portion of the job and ensure the safety of building occupants, the project team arranged for steel to be delivered and loaded through a ninth floor window between the hours of 7 pm and 3:30 am. Six deliveries, each containing 65 tons of steel, were made in total. Each piece was hoisted up 126 feet to a custom 25,500-SF platform built on the outside of the building. They were then carefully slid through a three-foot by six-foot window opening.

This project, completed in August, has also received its fair share of accolades. In addition to praise from Brookfield Properties, ENR New York awarded One North End the 2015 Best Project Award in the Interiors/Tenant Improvement category. More importantly for Hunter Roberts’ future at One North End, Brookfield awarded the Hunter Roberts project team additional work in the building: the renovation of the lobby. This $7 million, 4,500-SF project began immediately upon the completion of the original redevelopment project in August 2015 and includes a new polished concrete floor, natural stone cleft at the wall, new elevator cab finishes, a new lobby desk, the removal of marble curtain wall, a new security system, exterior pavers and landscaping, and the installation of glass storefront.

Future collaboration between Brookfield and Hunter Roberts appears more than likely. “Brookfield was very happy with the level of communication from Hunter Roberts,” said Project Manager Jen Zimmermann. “Dan [Halajian] and Dennis [Palmer] are top notch when it comes to pre-task planning and coordination between subcontractors and the building team.” Holly Duran, from the owner’s representative Holly Duran Real Estate Partners, was suitably impressed when touring the site earlier this year. “You guys have done a spectacular job,” she told the project team. “Be proud.”