Discover Copper Online

Winter 1996

Copper Helps Attract High-Tech Tenants to Wall Street

Lobby of 55 Broad Street, now renamed the New York Information Center after a $45 million renovation, including millions for copper power and communications wiring. At right is the 9 by 12 foot display on which visitors can call up Internet web sites, such as The Copper Page.

By investing some $45 million - millions of it for copper cabling - in an empty 29-year old building, a leading New York City real-estate operator has created what has been characterized as "the most-sophisticated rental property in the nation in terms of telecommunications." It has been renamed The New York info-nation Technology Center by its owners, Rudin Management Company, Inc. Sun Microsystems and Netcast Communications are among the high-tech tenants in the 30-story structure at 55 Broad Street, two blocks from the New York Stock Exchange.

John J. Gilbert, Rudin's chief operating officer, says that the high-tech renovation has proven such an attraction that the firm is adding more telecommunications cabling to all of its properties, starting with seven office buildings.

When the 400,000 square foot building was erected for Rudin in 1967, it was rated state-of-the-art. For instance, it was equipped with cold-water plumbing to cool the mainframe computers of its stock-brokerage tenants. Later, a diesel-generator for backup power was installed on the twelfth floor, the non-rentable services level. For five years after the last tenant, Drexel Burnham, went bankrupt, the building remained empty in the depressed New York real-estate market. Now it is two-thirds rented at $22 to $24 per square foot.

Clean Power

Most of the new copper cabling delivers power. Using larger than code-required wire sizes reduces overheating related to the build up of harmonic currents generated by today's office equipment.

Additionally, tenants can enjoy exceptionally clean power by plugging their PCs and other systems vulnerable to harmonics into newly installed outlets linked to three "scrubbers." These are 35-kVA generators driven by 41-hp motors. In an unusual arrangement, the scrubbers are jointly owned by Rudin and the local power company, Consolidated Edison. In the event of an outage, backup power is available from an uninterruptible power supply plus a Caterpillar diesel generator.


The building is equipped with its own Ethernet network. Dishes to communicate via satellite, one for Europe and the other for the West Coast and Far East, have been installed on the roof. Because so many of the tenants are involved with the Internet, access to the Net will be available to visitors on a 9-by-12 foot display in the lobby.

Five 100-megahertz risers, three of Category 5 copper cable and two fiber-optic, provide tenants with ample bandwidth for communications. Nevertheless, the ducts are not full: if more bandwidth is needed, there's room for 20-30% more capacity, according to Jerry Mermelstein, president of Riser Management Systems, Burlington, Vermont, which designed the telecom cabling.

The fourth story of the building is devoted to meeting rooms that can be rented on a as-needed basis by tenants. To provide enough bandwidth for video-conferencing on this floor, additional high-capacity copper cabling was installed. "We chose copper over fiber, because it's so easy to bend copper as needed. We prefer electrons to photons," Rudin's Gilbert explains.

Premium Motors Too

Because many tenants work late, the centralized ventilation system was replaced by individual HVAC systems on each floor controlled by those working there. The ventilation systems, ranging from 12 to 70 tons in capacity, were supplied by Mammoth Industries, Shaska, Minnesota, and installed by BP Air Conditioning, Brooklyn, New York.

All 55 motors in these systems are of premium grade, according to Robert Benazi of Jaros Baum & Bolles, the New York-based electrical/mechanical consultants for the project. The motors are from Baldor, Century and MagneTek. The electrical contractor for the project is Arc Electrical Construction Company, Inc., New York.

The success of 55 Broad Street has attracted attention from real-estate managers all over the world. As a result, Rudin is franchising the renovation concept.

Arc Electrical Construction: 212/573-9600
BP Air Conditioning: 718/383-2100
Jaros Baum & Bolles: 212/758-9000
Mammoth Industries: 612/361-2711
Riser Management Systems: 800/747-3779
Rudin Management: 212/407-2400

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