iPark to Be Smart and Green
May 01, 2001

By Staff
Appeared in New York Construction News

Once the home of the United Nations with some of the smartest people in the world, 1111 Marcus Avenue in Lake Success, N.Y., will once again be smart as well as green.

Taking cues from 4 Times Square and 3 Times Square, 1111 Marcus Avenue, the former Sperry Rand complex, will be converted into a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. technology campus called iPark. The complex was the home of the United Nations from 1946 through 1951.

The current $120 million project consists of a 1 million-sq.-ft., one-story, light manufacturing building; a three-story, 90,000-sq-ft. structure; and several smaller buildings, according to Joseph Cotter, president of iPark Lake Success Inc.

iPark's General Manager James O'Sullivan said green features include the use of an existing 300,000-sq.-ft. system of rooftop glass block monitors or skylights to allow in a large amount of natural light; installation of a substantial amount of raised flooring to enclose a reusable HVAC system, a modular wiring system and telecommunications cables; the use of HVAC units with high-efficiency motors; and experiments with an alternative energy source, either solar power or a fuel cell, to determine its effectiveness for other areas of the building. The alternative energy source experiment will be conducted in a 5,000-sq.-ft. iPark administrative office space. Another green feature of the project is its adaptive reuse of the existing buildings.

Smart features of the project will include how tenants create their own smart workspaces using state-of-the-art security, computer and telecommunications systems to monitor their equipment and conduct business.

"The building will be created as a neutral access building. This means the building will be open to multiple carriers to provide diversity and redundancy for the tenants and the buildings' operations," O'Sullivan explained.

Continuing, he said, "the 1 million-sq.-ft. building will be oriented for telecommunications and internet companies because it will allow for multiple carriers. And, because it was a light manufacturing facility, we already have a lot of power that can be delivered immediately to meet tenant requirements. The Long Island Power Authority will provide the power and tenants will install their own backup generators and power supplies."

"We are also refinishing and repointing the brick façade and installing energy-efficient windows. The windows will have a low-E coating to provide extra energy efficiency," he added.

O'Sullivan said the project's biggest challenge is converting a light manufacturing facility that produced gyroscopes and navigational equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense into a state-of the-art, high-tech office and telecommunications campus. To accomplish this requires upgrading electrical substations for maximum energy efficiency, reusing the existing glass block monitors for 21st century applications and creating two diverse fiber optic entrance facilities.

The project also has a fast-track scheduled that will be phased, he added.

The fast-track schedule required that lead items be prepurchased and that tenant move-in be balanced with demolition, added Cyrus Izzo, vice president of Syska & Hennessy, the project's New York-based mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer.

Elaborating, Steven Ball, president of Ball Construction, the project's New York-based construction manager, said the interesting thing about his project is dealing with an old building whose structure will not be changed substantially. "But, the building infrastructure will change," he added. "All mechanical, electrical and plumbing will be upgraded. There are three components that make up one building and another building is in the back. There is a front office building and connected to that is a two-story link building and the 1 million-sq.-ft building."

Another project challenge has been getting the project's master plan set in place. "Being a smart building means making sure the correct power loads and cabling is installed," Ball said.

The power loads and cabling will have a direct impact on the tenants' workspaces. To meet those challenges, Wired Environments of Garden City, N.Y., will serve as iPark's telecommunications provider.

"We will bring in any flavor of access they want from a T1 line to a coaxial cable. Our 50,000-sq.-ft. space will be wired using a fiber optic backbone and Cat 5 cable. For any network issues or technology-related needs, we will outsource the work," said Wired Environments Partner Jared Morgan.

The interior of the 1 million-sq.-ft. building presents the biggest challenge, said Thomas Mojo, a principal with Mojo-Stumer Associates of Roslyn, N.Y., one of the project's two architects.

"The building is 12 ft. short of the Empire State Building if the Empire State Building were laid on its side," Mojo said.

The height of the interior is also challenging. He said it is 16 ft. to 17 ft. to the underside of the steel. This allows for a 16-ft. ceiling height. However, Mojo expects to implement moderate ceiling heights using drop ceilings. To take advantage of the natural light from the rooftop glass block monitors, which are actually 16-ft. skylights every 40 ft., creative layout of tenant space will be required. In addition, Mojo said this "mini-city will also require designated building areas for amenities such as a dry cleaner, food service area and even a post office. Will-call areas will also be created with separate entrances because of the enormity of the structure.

"The design challenge is subdividing a building with 1 million sq. ft. on one floor," added Michael Brandt, a principal with The Phillips Group of Melville, N.Y., the project's other architect and structural engineer.

"We are currently going through a series of studies now that will set up common corridors and amenity spaces that will maximize floor layout while dividing the building for multitenant use," Brandt added.

Toward this goal, Brandt said the tenants themselves will drive the interior design, but noted that technology companies look for fun, creative, fast and efficient constructibility with large open areas and effective workgroup environments."

The conversion of 1111 Marcus Ave. is expected to be completed by December 2002.