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Expert: Fort Lee glass towers won't cause reflection problem

Post Time:Mar 13,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:353


A building facade expert attempted to quell fears of potential sun glare a new high-rise development might emanate at the fourth public hearing dedicated to the Center at


Jeffrey Somerlot, of Israel Berger and Associates, LLC, provided testimony to the Planning Board at the


Renderings for Phase 1 of the $700 million development depict a glass exterior enclosing each of the two 47-story luxury residential towers at the center of the debate.


The design feature has prompted criticism from residents worried about the potential safety hazard this may pose to drivers and pedestrians.


Somerlot produced a blue-tinted, square sample of the proposed glass for the board, stating that the reflectivity of the glass is about 36 percent compared to 85 percent for a mirror and 12 to 16 percent for clear glass without coating.


"The glare that results from the sun will never be more intense than the sunlight itself," said Somerlot, explaining that the building will absorb a large portion of the energy and transmit it inside the structure.


"If the sunlight doesn't cause an unsafe condition, then the glare will not cause an unsafe condition," he said.


The glass type used is comparable to that of Times Square Plaza, Trump SoHo Tower and the new 7 World Trade Center in New York, all high-rises Somerlot also worked on. There have been no complaints about glare issues from the buildings so far, he said.


Though this glass will have "moderate" reflectivity, the positive tradeoff will be in thermal performance, which usually decreases with less reflective glass.


"It's a superior product from a thermal and sustainability perspective," Somerlot said.


The glass has also been tested to withstand 115 to 150 mph winds.


Resident Larry Goldberg pointed out that the 498-foot towers will regularly face 70 pounds of pressure at the top and 35 pounds down at the lower levels.


Despite some questions about the transparency of the glass and the nature of the glare when coupled with the Hudson River, residents repeatedly drove the conversation back to the ongoing traffic dilemma.


The traffic consultant from the previous hearing finished his testimony at the start of the March 5 meeting by producing a survey conducted on the Mediterranean Towers - two 485-unit high-rises also based in


Chosen for their unit numbers, proximity to the George Washington Bridge and limited entering and exiting roadways, the towers were meant to mimic the conditions the high-rises at the Center of


Kenneth Mackiewicz, a traffic engineer with TRC Engineers, Inc., said the traffic counts conducted at the Mediterranean revealed that previous traffic projections for the Center were "conservatively overstated" by 20 percent.


The statement was met with much of the same skepticism shown at the last meeting, during which Mackiewicz predicted average traffic delay increases of 2 seconds.


"You are not seeing the Mediterranean Towers dump onto the bridge," said Planning Board member Janet Cooney. "The ITE [Institute of Traffic Engineers] doesn't take into account having a facility like the bridge right there."


Planning Board Chairman Herbert Greenberg announced plans to have development and borough officials come together to build a "total picture" of traffic the total 16-acre project is expected to generate.


All future public hearings on the matter will be moved from 7:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to better accommodate public input.


Resident Jennifer Benepe got a jump start at the March 5 meeting on the next issue the board will discuss: the garages. Their dark and overwhelming design, she said, will be an eyesore.


But the glass found at least one fan in her.


"It will reflect the sky, it will reflect the lights," she said. "I think it will add tremendous beauty to


Source: USGNNAuthor: shangyi

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