Known as the “World’s Most Famous Building,” the Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper located in the New York City borough of Midtown Manhattan. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet and stands a total of 1,454 feet tall, including its antenna.
A National Historic Landmark and American cultural icon, its observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors play host to a combined average of 4 million visitors each year.
Completed in 1931, the 87-year-old structure sought to transform its visitor experience by shifting and renovating its observatory lobby in the first phase of a multi-year project. It also instituted a number of modern technologies, including large LED panels and digital ticket kiosks in nine languages.
Part of Phase 1 was a reimagining of the Empire State Building Official Store, located on the 80th floor. Offering upscale souvenirs and memorabilia that celebrate the attraction’s past, present and future, the store also underwent a renovation.
H.J. Martin and Son was selected to handle the millwork installation and finish carpentry for this unique project. The company worked closely with TJ Hale, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of high-end, customized fixtures.
The scope of H.J. Martin and Son’s work on the Official Store included base cabinets with stone tops, lockers, a decorative ceiling, wood base and crown molding, along with installation and custom fitting of all trim and millwork. The company also installed showcases and freestanding display cabinets with glass shelving.
H.J. Martin and Son carpenters, along with local carpenters, spent nine weeks on the job site starting in late October 2018, wrapping up just before Christmas. The crew typically worked from midnight to 8 a.m. each day, allowing it to have access to a more available elevator.
Beyond the non-traditional work hours, a myriad of other challenges were overcome on this project. These obstacles included logistics, a tight job site with not a lot of room and the need to carefully manage deliveries.
Close coordination with TJ Hale on the delivery schedule – what came when, and prioritization of items – was critical to successfully managing up to three deliveries per week.
Custom fitting millwork pieces into an existing space was an additional challenge met.