Electra USA companies Gilston Electric and F.W. Sims come together to build the landmark Moynihan Station Project : Moving Full Steam Ahead
A litany of constant changes has not stopped Electra USA companies, Gilston Electric and F.W. Sims, from successfully collaborating on their first joint project – New York’s Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, North America’s busiest rail hub. With over 100 years of accumulated experience, Gilston Electric and F.W. Sims have seen it all when it comes to construction projects. That is, until the freshly completed Moynihan Train Hall project in the heart of Manhattan.
“It was a monumental task, and it’s amazing that we came anywhere close to schedule, let alone met the tight deadlines. Our success is a testament to the cooperation between our companies,” said Arthur Seeberger, President and CEO, F.W. Sims.
Before their acquisition by Electra USA, the two companies were hired to carry out electrical and mechanical work on the train hall, a 486,000 sq ft (45,200 m2) complex aimed at alleviating congestion in Penn Station. At the start of the project in 2018, it became clear this job was different from all others.
“First, there’s the enormous size of the hall itself,” said Seeberger. “Second, it’s part of a historic building, which always makes things more interesting and complex. But more than anything else, in all my years in the business, I’ve never been involved in a project that required so many changes, and I mean hundreds throughout its duration. We were constantly redesigning, redrafting and having to constantly coordinate changing logistics. It was a monumental task, and it’s amazing that we came anywhere close to schedule, let alone met the tight deadlines. Take, for example, the fact that all of the main utilities on the 4th floor level had to be relocated to the 3rd floor level,” Seeberger continues. “We had to split them into sub-risers to feed the floors above. Nobody could have foreseen these and so many other changes, and our success is a testament to the cooperation between our companies.”
“Given the many changes throughout the project, we had to continuously upgrade the design plan, communicate to the field and execute. It was a huge challenge, but we managed to get through it with flying colors.”
“For me, the transition was completely seamless, and it’s just gotten better,” replied Seeberger. “I’ve enjoyed working with both Gilston and Electra, and we’re really starting to meld together.”
The two companies collaborated on two parts of the project; renovating the train hall and train shed, while Gilston also worked on another project creating new office space for Farley Post Office employees at the same location. The value of the projects totaled more than $140 million.
Among the project’s highlights is a 90-foot-high skylight ceiling covering the nearly 1-acre train hall. During the day it brings in light, and at night, thousands of color-changing LED lights illuminate the skylight trusses, columns and entire hall. There’s also 104 digital way-finding displays, four jumbo screens, thousands of custom sconces and hanging fixtures, a massive radiant floor and specialized lighting to enhance the $6 million worth of permanent artwork throughout the station.
With the Moynihan project under their belts, the train hall opened on January 1, 2021. The Gilston-Sims combination is a valuable collaboration for any project, especially one as complex as the Moynihan project. Gilston specializes in electrical work and Sims in mechanical work. Gilston’s clients are primarily in the public sector. Sims’ are in the private sector.
The two companies are also partnering with a third sister company, the New York-based electrical contractor Hellman Electric, to give Electra USA a unique mix that’s hard to beat. And the success of the Moynihan project illustrates the potential for great things to come in America’s largest city.
“Our collaboration with Sims was great during the Moynihan project, and I’m really looking forward to doing more projects together in the future,” said Senior VP, John Keane. “We both have different clients in different sectors, and it creates opportunities and synergies to package contracts and offer clients better deals.”
Seeberger seconds the idea. “It was wonderful partnering with Gilston. We liked each other and built personal relationships in a short time.” He continued, “in addition, it underscored the importance of not only pre-planning, but also teamwork. Given our success on this project, despite all of the challenges, I’m confident we can deliver real value added in future joint endeavors.”
Electra USA companies Gilston Electric and F.W. Sims come together to build the landmark Moynihan Station Project
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