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ESB Highlights Tower Cocoon

Says project benefits broadcasters and tourists

From base to antenna, the Empire State Building stands 1,454 feet high, and the Empire State Realty Trust is in the process of installing a new auxiliary master FM radio antenna on the tower. The work, led by JLL and Skanska, is slated to be completed in 2017.

The management at the iconic building is highlighting a special protective construction cocoon at the base of ESB’s antenna tower that they say minimizes the project’s impact on the building’s day-to-day operations. This cocoon extends the work window from 5 hours per day — a schedule to avoid observatory hours — to a full 24 hours, regardless of weather, and reduces necessary sidewalk scaffolding.

The rooftop competition for broadcast tenants is competitive in the Big Apple; and Empire State Realty Trust EVP and Director of Leasing and Operations Thomas P. Durels said this construction protection process is an example of the ESB’s efforts to innovate and of its investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities. Also, the antenna installation includes an RF-shielded climbing aperture that allows television antenna work on ESB’s tower to be performed without affecting existing radio signals.

In addition to the installation of the antenna, an FM auxiliary combiner — the largest known FM combiner in the world, according to ESB — will be installed. That combiner will enable the radio frequencies of all 19 stations to be transmitted from the new master. Electronic Research Inc. and Dielectric Inc. are the antenna and combiner manufacturers for the project.

ESRT said it worked with the NYC Department of Building, and its Building Enforcement Safety Team beginning early in the design process to obtain the required governmental approvals and DOB permits. Thornton Tomasetti served as the structural engineers. Hanson Professional Services were the broadcast engineers, and Smith & Fisher served as the RF engineers. Skanska USA Building Inc. were named the general contractors. Plan B Engineering tackled design and site safety planning.