Devon Contracting Lifts Philly to New Parking Heights

Fri October 09, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

A Manitowoc 16000 is aiding in the construction of a parking garage over three sets of Amtrak train tracks.
A Manitowoc 16000 is aiding in the construction of a parking garage over three sets of Amtrak train tracks.

Travelers in downtown Philadelphia, may notice a big red boom in the sky. This boom, which is attached to a Manitowoc 16000, marks the location of the new Cira Center South parking garage.

The Cira Center South, located at 30th and Market streets in Philadelphia, will include a 40- to 50-story office tower and a 25- to 30-story residential tower. The project also includes a parking garage and conversion of a U.S. Postal Service building into offices for the Internal Revenue Service. The project will be constructed within the limits of the previously demolished post office annex facility in between Walnut and Chestnut streets.

The project scope originally consisted of a new 13-story, 682,000 sq. ft. (63,260 sq m), 2,062 car precast parking garage with a green roof and included 10,800 sq. ft (1,003 sq m)of retail space. Originally, 1,743 spaces were provided for the IRS employees who will be occupying the former main post office building when the renovations are complete.

On Nov. 19, 2008, Brandywine Realty Trust reduced the size and scope of the project to satisfy the minimum U.S. General Services Administration lease requirements of 1,656 total spaces, 1,597 allocated as IRS parking spaces.

To build the precast parking garage structure, which is being constructed over three sets of Amtrak train tracks, the contractors on the project, Devon Contracting Inc./Keating Group, turned to AmQuip.

AmQuip recently purchased a Manitowoc 16000 440 ton (399 t) crawler crane, which went to work immediately on the project. The crane is equipped with 177 ft. (54 m) boom and 157 ft. (48 m) luffing jib.

The Manitowoc 16000 was the crane of choice due to erecting half of the structure at one time and the need to create stability during the assembly process while building over three sets of train tracks. A Manitowoc 2250 is the typical crane of choice for these types of structures, but due to Amtrak’s strict safety requirements, Devon Contracting decided to up the crane a few notches to the 16000. There also was the factor of incorporating two sets of shear walls on the north and south side in a single lifting sequence, which led to choosing the larger crane.

Bo Kusznir of Precast Services, who is the project manager on this site and a consultant to Devon Contracting, and Jeff Hammons and Frank Puzzangara of AmQuip Crane Rental created a detailed erection plan showing that every pick met Amtrak’s 150 percent safety requirements.

“AmQuip helped to satisfy all of the safety aspects of the job. [Erection technician] Chris Good put the crane together in three days, which is unprecedented in the industry. Excellence and experience of the operators is critical. We knew AmQuip would give us the experienced operators required for the critical lifts on this project,” Kusznir said.

Precast parking garages have a lot of special characteristics and the Cira Center took it to a new level with a building height of 13 stories, surrounded by elevated streets and working over the three sets of Amtrak tracks.

The parking garage and post office conversion is scheduled to be completed in 2010 and the two towers in 2012. CEG