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					                          BEST OF                  Uniqlo Flagship
         2007            AWARDS                                                       PROJECT OF THE YEAR: Retail


Hoping to turn heads and attract people
to its first Manhattan location, Uniqlo
USA selected a Soho storefront to house
its Big Apple flagship store.
   “The idea of this store was to make an
impression on the U.S. market with its
flagship being larger than the other
stores,” says Michael Leonetti, project ex-
ecutive with construction manager
Richter + Ratner of New York.
   Uniqlo is one of Japan’s most popular
apparel retailers. The company has 733
stores worldwide.
   It had operated three stores in New Jer-
sey malls, but sales had disappointed the
company. Uniqlo decided it wanted a big-
ger presence and knew that meant a store
in the fashion capital – New York City.
   In a way, it was coming home. Tadashi         Crews enveloped the existing 14- to 16-
Yanai, chairman and CEO of FAST RE-           in. cast-iron columns, including one that      Key Players
TAILING, the parent company of Uniqlo,        was cracked, in 6- to 7-in. steel girdles.     Owner: Uniqlo, New York
came up for the idea for Uniqlo while vis-    Each column was drilled through every
                                                                                             Owner's Representative: Excelsior Realty
iting New York as a young man in the late     few inches and bolted tight to the 4-ft-tall
                                                                                             Management Inc., New York
1960s. He was inspired by the city’s          girdles. The new steel attaches to the gir-
                                                                                             Architect: Wonderwall, Japan, and
bustling energy and its retailers present-    dle and enabled the removal of floors to
                                                                                             Greenberg Farrow, New York
ing calm, organized environments that let     create the atria.
                                                                                             Construction Manager: Richter + Ratner,
shoppers explore at their own pace.              “Every day there were new surprises,”
                                                                                             New York
   “We wanted to create a store that ex-      says Odake, offering as an example that
                                                                                             Structural Engineer: Goldstein
presses the Japanese modern culture,” says    all the fixtures arrived straight but the
                                                                                             Associates, New York
Shin Odake, chief operating officer with      building was off plumb.
Uniqlo. “Cleanliness is important and so is      One building was skewed four to five        MEP Consultant: Lilker Associates,
                                                                                             Consulting Engineers, New York
a futuristic image and minimalism.”           degrees, Leonetti says. Richter + Ratner
   Rather than opting for a sleek, contem-    buried the discrepancy behind furred-          Demolition: Manhattan Demolition, Long
                                                                                             Island City, N.Y.
porary building Uniqlo, chose a 36,000-       out walls.
sq-ft, historic landmark, built in the           “Whenever you get a 100-year-old            Concrete: Malatesta Paladino, Jamaica,
                                                                                             N.Y.
1800s, and infused it with sleek stainless    building, you find a lot of things, includ-
steel and glass. The $14 million project      ing cracked columns and out of align-          Structural Steel: Maspeth Welding,
                                                                                             Maspeth, N.Y.
combines two old cast-iron-and-timber-        ment,” Leonetti adds.
constructed buildings into one.                  Load tests of the floors were performed     Plumbing: Pace Plumbing, Brooklyn, N.Y.
   Richter + Ratner opened up the two         with steel-framed “swimming pools” to          HVAC: AFGO Mechanical, Long Island
levels, creating three large atria, so cus-   measure deflection for occupancy loads.        City, N.Y.
tomers can look from one level to anoth-      Crews shored each section, removed wood        Electrical: Absolute Electric, Rosedale,
er. The work involved shoring, bracing        and replaced it with new. Significant and      N.Y.
and adding steel and cast iron.               precise phasing and sequencing >>


                                              89   New York Construction   12/ 2007
                                                                                                                  Best of 2007 Awards

allowed this work to continue while other          At the front of the store, 30 life-size       ing sales associates ready access to the
construction progressed.                        manikins, wearing Uniqlo cloths, spin.           products through panels that open to the
   Ash wood covers the upper floors, with       Motors and drive shafts, placed under the        catwalk.
walnut in the basement.                         illuminated glass floor, power the man-             Codes in the landmark district prevented
   Plans called for a 700-ton cooling tower     nequins, which were imported from                exterior alterations and Soho zoning limit-
to be placed on the roof. But during instal-    Japan. The tolerance for the construction        ed store size to 10,000 sq ft. Architect of
lation, crews found the parapet walls were      of the mechanisms was minuscule. Each            record Greenberg Farrow of New York
severely deteriorated between the exterior      pin had to be placed precisely as designat-      came up with a plan to break the store into
and interior wythes. Rubble, debris and         ed for the system to work. Only minimal          separate establishments, divided by glass
power had replaced fully mortared brick,        adjustments were needed to bring the             partitions, each entity with its own means
necessitating an emergency restoration.         concept to life.                                 of egress, with doors that can shut it off.
   The heating system required installa-           Crews added a free-standing elevator in          Richter + Ratner began working on the
tion of 23 heat pumps. Codes prevented          a glass shaft with exposed mechanisms in         complex project in March 2006, with an
using the existing timber beams to hold         one of the atria, stainless-clad staircases to   unmovable November 2006 finish. The
the heat pumps. Richter + Ratner added          the mezzanine, stacked glass wall sys-           owner had already mailed party invita-
structural-steel supports at great expense      tems, acres of wood flooring and a tin           tions before the design was completed.
to the project.                                 ceiling similar in pattern and material to          “They had a short lead time but did a
   To highlight the building’s history, Uniq-   the original.                                    wonderful job pulling through a miracle
lo decided to enclose one of the original          The store features brightly colored, ca-      in terms of schedule,” Odake says.
150-ft-long by 22-ft-high brick walls in        sual, ready-to-wear clothing stacked 25 ft          During construction, about 150 crafts-
structural glass so customers could see the     from floor to ceiling. Construction crews        people worked 12-hour shifts, seven days
old brick but it also would be protected.       placed catwalks behind the displays, giv-        a week to meet the deadlines. <<




                                                91   New York Construction   12/ 2007

				
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