Verizon Communications - 140 West Street
New York, NY

Verizon's building at 140 West Street, in Lower Manhattan serves some 300,000 voice lines, 3.5 million data circuits and circuits connected to other telecom companies. Constructed in 1928, this 1,000,000 sq. ft., 32-story landmark structure is the company’s largest central office building in the United States and contains their largest switching center. The building, which is directly across the street from ground zero and next door to 7 World Trade Center, was severely damaged by the Sept. 11 attacks. Many holes were ripped in its walls and girders pierced it like arrows. Water from broken mains and fire hoses flooded its basement vaults, shorting out cables that had not been cut by the falling steel. The ducts outside were covered by 30-foot-high hills of debris, denying access to them for days.

In October of 2001, Syska Hennessy joined this multi-pronged rehabilitation program and was responsible for the design of the following systems: mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, fire life safety and central utilities (steam, chiller plant) systems.

It was Verizon’s objective to re-build a state-of-the-art facility, within Landmark Building guidelines, that would provide for the needs of today, as well as those of the future. Significant features of the project included the following:

Variable speed drives and high efficiency motors were utilized on fans and pumps.

A centralized direct digital control building management system was designed to ensure the optimal operation of MEP equipment and systems.

The MEP systems and equipment were designed to provide flexibility and the capacity necessary for future additional telecommunications equipment.

A centralized FanFarm of mechanical equipment replacing 18 independent MERs, including air handling units, was utilized for construction cost savings, energy efficiency, and ease of maintenance for Verizon staff.

Four 800 tons electric drive chillers were designed to provide chilled water to the facility.

Normal and emergency electrical switchgear rooms were separated by two-hour fire rated walls for higher system reliability.

New Con-Edison 460 Volt electric service and distribution system replacing existing 208 volt electrical service with Network Protectors.

Four (4) new 2 MW diesel engine emergency generators.

New fuel oil distribution system including pumps piping, 20,000 gallon fuel, control system and refurbishing of existing 20,000 & 17,000 gallon fuel tanks.

Four (4) new 800 ton electrical chillers with associated chilled & condenser water pumps for a N+1 capacity.

Six (6) 63,000 CFM air handling units serving the administration floors 11 thru 31st floor.

New domestic water, domestic hot water, sanitary waste & very systems, including central chiller drinking water system.

New fire sprinkler & standpipe system.

Various upgrades to the existing Class “E” fire alarm system.

Various upgrades to the building’s existing DDC building management system. Additional efforts included a new central refrigeration plant. Chilled water is produced by four 800-ton capacity electrical centrifugal chillers. The design provides for a redundant chiller, and also includes provisions for the addition of up to 1,600 tons of additional refrigeration capacity should the cooling load increase in the future. The chiller plant also includes two plate and frame type heat exchangers to provide free cooling, when outdoor conditions permit. The new central plant was designed to be installed while maintaining the existing satellite chiller plant in operation, and without interruption to the current operation of the facility.

The project advanced state-of-the-art engineering by demonstrating how engineers can provide cost effective, technically sound solutions that improve the quality of life for all building occupants, as well as telecommunications customers. Our design advanced the awareness of providing systems that can be constructed efficiently, resulting in first cost and operational savings. It also reinforced the benefit, with respect to schedule and cost, of creating a collaborative design between Engineer, Architect, Owner and other consultants.

Verizon was involved in continuous negotiations with its insurance companies and because of these negotiations, the project budget was continually changing. The budget revisions led to changes in the scope requiring our team to design with flexibility. With a full construction team on-site, it was decided that in order to expedite the process, design documents would be issued on a monthly basis by trade. Plans were issued in the following order: emergency generator fuel oil system, chiller plant, FanFarm, electrical infrastructure, plumbing and fire protection, and fire life safety.