News (Blog)

Great Chicago Restoration

Friday, August 12, 2011 8:11 AM | Tom Sybert (Administrator)
Great article link here for a Historic Elevator Restoration as well as a great response from Tim Toan from Urban Elevator who was the contractor who was part of the project. 

Patrick thanks for the recognition and passing this on. This was one of the few old school buildings left in the city of Chicago that has manually operated elevators. Due to code changes and insurance requirements they were forced to modernize. They did not want to lose the charm of the building with the manually operated cars but needed to meet the fire code to conform to insurance requirements. We created a attendant system that allows them to still employ the elevator operators but have fully code compliant elevators.

It is funny because many years ago I worked for Westinghouse Elevator and took calls at this building. I had a passion for this building the first time I walked in the door. This building always had two elevator operators on duty 24 hrs a day to take owners to their units. When it came time to modernize they were told by other people in the industry they had to get rid of their cabs and doors because they did not meet code. This would have been a crime these cabs are works of art. I have done many projects with vintage buildings over the years and have either recreated the look of the original cab or restored the cab to meet the existing elevator code. When the Powhatten Building had gotten our name from another historic building we had done I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the renovation.

There is a part the article does not mention that  is the beautiful hoistway doors. Each floor has an inlaid emblem for one of various native American tribes associated to the Chicago and Midwest. These doors by code were not acceptable because of the gap created around the inlaid medallion. We approached the city and received a variance to keep these individual pieces of art. This was a great project it was a huge challenge to keep these cabs intact, add the automatic doors and room for the COP. This building is now AC gearless with regen drives the latest and greenest technology running these beautiful vintage elevator cabs. It is projects like this one that remind me of why I love my Job.


Timothy Toan

Vice President

Modernization and Business Development

Office 708-656-5512

Cell 312-446-0598 - Join Today!

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