How Will the World’s Tallest Voluntary Demolition in NYC Actually Happen?

270 Park Avenue, JPMorgan Chase's Headquarters.  photo by  Reading Tom ,  CC BY 2.0

270 Park Avenue, JPMorgan Chase's Headquarters.  photo by Reading TomCC BY 2.0

A couple weeks ago, JP Morgan Chase announced that they planned to demolish their existing 52-story Manhattan headquarters, which is believed to be the tallest voluntary demolition in history, in order to build a 70 story, 2.5 million square foot building in its place. The move left preservationists upset at the idea of scrapping the nearly 60 year old building and others wondering how exactly they were going to safely demolish a building that tall in such a congested and busy area.

The Real Deal (TRD), a New York real estate news site, recently spoke to a few experts in the world of demolition to determine how they thought the massive building would come down.  First, they said that demolition by implosion was almost completely out of the question due to safety concerns.  Wrecking Balls, which are barely used anymore for demolition anyway, are also unlikely due to proximity to other buildings.

Instead, the demolition process will be more like a deconstruction process, by removing the interior components and then dismantling the building floor-by-floor from top to bottom. Luis Valderutten, a structural engineer with Breeze Demolition, told the Real Deal that Chapter 33 of New York City’s building code spells out the requirements for demolishing buildings piece-by-piece.

The demolition process is generally expected to go in this order:

  1. Removal of any hazardous or harmful substances, such as asbestos and lead.
  2. Completely enclose the building with netting, like a “cocoon system.”
  3. Remove all windows, doors, and interior materials and fixtures.
  4. Use mini-excavators or demolition robots to demolish the building floor-by-floor.
  5. Steel beams, framing, and structural columns will be the last to be demolished.

Removing the debris will be a challenge of its own, as contractors will obviously not be able to just drop materials to the ground.  The experts expect the contractor to use a variety of options, including cutes, carts, hoists, and cranes.  Again, dude to the lack of space for the project, they believe the contractor will hold off as long as possible on bringing a crane in. Adam Stock, a project engineer for Howard I. Shapiro & Associates told TRD that each floor will take about a week to dismantle and the entire project will take roughly a year to complete.

JPMorgan Chase has not yet determined who their demolition contractor for the project will be. 

Full story:  The world’s largest voluntary demolition will be done in pieces. Here’s how 270 Park will disappear | The Real Deal