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Winston 200 Winston 200

A Sikorsky performs the heavy lifting


The HVAC rooftop units at Winston Towers 200 in Cliffside Park were about 25 years old, had not been operational for the previous five years and were long overdue for replacement. However, two large obstacles stood in the way: The first challenge was that the rooftop was out of reach of any conventional street crane, and secondly, the condo association was struggling with how to finance the operation.

Evco Mechanical stepped in and solved both problems, starting with the financing.

Working closely with PSE&G, Evco helped develop a financial package that got the association the funding it needed to finally replace the heating and air conditioning units that serve the hallway space at the 35-floor, 600-apartment complex.

Getting the old units off the roof and new units on the roof without a crane was the next challenge. Evco’s solution was to fly in a special Sikorsky construction helicopter from Michigan that was capable of lifting up to 9,500 pounds.

For the six to seven months leading up to the replacement day, June 20th, Evco was on the phone with the FAA, Cliffside Park’s police and fire departments, the mayor’s office, the town engineer, the town’s attorneys, the association’s attorneys and the property managers of the other nearby towers … all to get the myriad of approvals they’d need to proceed.

When the morning of June 20th arrived, all the apartments on the top three floors were evacuated. Fifteen police officers were on site, along with two fire trucks and 17 firemen, EMTs and a special spray foam truck in case of a fueling incident. To meet all the FAA’s requirements, all the surrounding streets were closed off by local police and the parking lots were evacuated by 10 a.m. (As you’ll see in the video, it was quite the scene.)

The chopper arrived at 10 a.m. sharp, and first lifted the prefabricated structural platforms into place, then the four HVAC units, one at a time. After months of detailed planning with a dozen different offices and agencies, the operation was over and done in 43 minutes, and at 10:44 am, the chopper headed back to Teterboro Airport. The streets were reopened, and life went back to normal for the residents and the town of Cliffside Park.

The main objectives were met: performing the operation without incident and with a minimum of inconvenience for the residents. This was, without doubt, the proudest moment in Evco Mechanical’s 38-year history—only to be topped by a similar, but much larger, project at Harmon Cove Towers in Secaucus five months later.

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