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Facility in the Spotlight: Thornwood Self Storage and its Green Approach

Terry Campbell Comments

To say the development of the Thornwood Self Storage Center in Thornwood, N.Y., was a challenge is an understatement of lofty proportions. In fact, the project unrolled as a series of challenges that tested the ingenuity of everyone involved: owners, engineering consultants, construction crews, security specialists, building manufacturer and the local community.

The first major hurdle was converting the existing building into self-storage. Generally, new construction is less complicated than a conversion, and typically doesn’t present the structural problems developers sometimes face with existing buildings. Real estate developers Dan Kasman and Michael Gyory chose to convert a two-story downtown building that formerly housed a health club.

Situated on sloping terrain, the structure had an entrance on the top level and a second floor partially below grade. Its floors offered extraordinary floor-to-ceiling height, and the new owners wanted to replace them with three floors of leasable self-storage space. They removed the two existing floors, reinforced the building with large steel pylons, and created three new levels within the existing building envelope. All floors are accessible by two high-capacity elevators.

Once the structural renovation was complete, BETCO Inc., a self-storage building manufacturer, installed the door and hallway system. The company’s timing had to coincide with the existing structural changes and the subcontractors’ schedules so as not to delay overall progress of the project.

BETCO’s certified construction crew had to perform field modifications, which meant custom-fitting some interior materials to the building to maximize available space. In addition, site work in and around the building often diminished available space for door and hallway materials delivery.

The Facility Goes Green

Part of the owners’ vision for the Thornwood project was a modern facility with environmentally friendly features ranging from rooftop solar panels to an energy-saving, motion-sensored lighting system. Both owners are committed to the health and improvement of the environment. In fact, they engaged the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to facilitate the energy-efficient development of the building in accordance with its guidelines.

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