629 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ
The Lackawanna Warehouse was constructed in 1929 or 1930 by the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company to store materials for the railroad. To this day, the elevated track structures are still visible along the southerly side of the building. The building is situated on 4 lots occupying 4 City blocks. An earthen ramp provides access to the North side of the building where parking and off-street loading occur on grade over an extension of the ground floor. The basement level is substantially vacant with the exception of utilities and systems. Each of the typical floors 2 thru 8 provides a floor plate of approximately 850 feet in length by 160 feet in width for a net floor area in excess of 130,000 SF per floor. The first floor is significantly larger in footprint.
Over the years, the use of the building has transformed from materials storage for a single owner-tenant to occupancy by multiple tenants. Although many of the demised spaces throughout the building have access to multiple means of egress, the owners decided that it was necessary to bring the building, over time, into conformance with current life safety requirements. In 2007, LLA was commissioned to assist in this work.
LLA toured the site, reviewed the applicable codes and issued a report to the client. Based on the initial site assessment, LLA devised a 2 phased approach to meet the client’s egress needs. LLA established an egress corridor on floors 2 through 8 to provide access to two stairs at the north and south sides of the building, (1) existing and (1) new. The existing north stair exits to grade at the 2nd floor rear. The new south stair now exits to grade via the 16th Street lobby where a new ADA accessible ramp was provided.
As part of LLA’s scope, both stairs were pressurized and provided with new doors and hardware for re-entry on all floors as activated by the fire alarm. A new passenger elevator installed within a decommissioned freight elevator shaft now provides accessibility and recall to the first floor lobby where a fire command station was located. A new standpipe was provided at the new south stair and new corridors were provided with a sprinkler riser and coverage independent of the existing floor system. Future Phase II scope will include the retrofitting of all other fire stair doors with hardware to provide auto release by fire alarm activation for re-entry at all stair tower doors.
This scope of work provided approximately 65% of tower occupants (floors 2 through 8) with a fully conforming egress route to grades at each side of the building. Similarly, the first floor lobby upgrade made the tower fully accessible. LLA also provided plans for construction of egress corridors at the 5th Floor West & 8th Floor East ends of building. These layouts will set ground rules for ongoing fire safety upgrades at other floors.