Up, Up, in a Crane: What Life is Like as a Tower Crane Operator

This is the office for a tower crane operator. | Photos: James Jennings

With upwards of 20 tower cranes dotting the Philadelphia skyline these days, you’d be forgiven if you sometimes caught yourself daydreaming about what life is like in one of those bubbles that float high above the city. I definitely do.

After all, with mega projects under construction alongside the Ben Franklin Bridge, up and down the Schuylkill River and right in the center of it all at the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, tower crane operators have a view unlike any other, day in and day out.

I recently met with the team over at One Riverside, including operating engineer Joel Crooks of Madison Concrete Construction; Andrew O’Donnell, project manager at INTECH; and developer Carl Dranoff, to not only talk about the many intricacies and rigors of the job, of which there are many, but also to take the chance to make the 200-foot ascent up the tower and experience first hand the exhilaration of getting into the cab of the crane.

What I learned was eye opening, and what I saw was simply breathtaking.

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On the Rise: Concrete Pour at One Riverside Scheduled for Next Week

The construction site at One Riverside | Photo: James Jennings

The construction site at One Riverside | Photo: James Jennings

Here’s a brief update on the One Riverside project. Hot off the heels of the kid-oriented (and immensely successful) construction site festival, Dranoff Properties has told us that the large concrete pour will take place in the wee hours, starting at midnight on October 9th and stretching into the day of October 10th.

It’s probably better described as an event, as the pour will mark the beginnings of the new foundation for the luxury condo building. That means it can’t be interrupted in the least.

“It will involve approximately 300 concrete trucks as the tower mat foundation is 4’-6” thick and the building core is 10’-6” thick,” said Marianne Harris of Dranoff Properties, in an email. “It should be completed by mid-day on Saturday.”

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Meet “Carl The Builder” at One Riverside’s Kid-Friendly Construction Carnival

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.52.28 PMDo you have a construction-loving kid and want to be one of the coolest parents in the world this weekend?

Saturday, September 12, developer Carl Dranoff will temporarily remove his fedora and don a hard hat, as “Carl the Builder” will tour kids (and grown ups) around his latest sandbox–the construction site of One Riverside, a luxury condo building at 25th and Locust.

From the looks of the flier, there will be a ton of freebies for the kiddos, including carnival food like hot dogs, water ice and soft pretzels.

But that’s not even the best part: “The kids will be able to get their pictures taken with the construction equipment while wearing our take-away hard hats,” says Marianne Harris, vice president of Sales, Marketing and Leasing at Dranoff Properties. “We are also giving out miniature trucks and trucks filled with candy as well as “Carl The Builder” coloring books and crayons.”

To recap: we’re talking free food, hard hats, coloring books, pictures with heavy machinery and also Carl Dranoff riffing off of Bob the Builder.

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Groundbreaking: Here’s What to Expect from One Riverside

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

After a long and winding journey, Carl Dranoff’s latest luxury tower, One Riverside, officially broke ground yesterday. When complete, the Cecil Baker-designed building will rise 22-stories above the ground and feature sweeping views of the Schuylkill River as well as multiple vantage points of both the Center City, and ever-expanding University City skylines.

The One Riverside project will be Dranoff’s fourth foray into residential development along the Schuylkill River. Previous developments include Locust Point, Locust on the Park and the Left Bank, which is on the University City side of the river at 3131 Walnut Street.

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June Date Set for One Riverside Groundbreaking

400x400 Carl Dranoff One Riverside rendering

In view of the devastating Amtrak derailment in Port Richmond last month, developer Carl Dranoff postponed the May 13th groundbreaking of his One Riverside project “out of respect for all those affected by this tragedy,” per a press release.

Now, we’ve gotten the official word that a new groundbreaking date has been set for the upcoming luxury condo tower: Wednesday, June 17th at 11:30am. The ceremony is to be at the One Riverside Sales & Design Center at 225 South 25th Street.

The 22-story building will house 82 luxury condos and plenty of high end amenities. The first units are expected to be ready in December 2016.

One Riverside Groundbreaking Postponed ‘Out of Respect’ for Amtrak Tragedy

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

One Riverside | Courtesy: Dranoff Properties

Developer Carl Dranoff was set to break ground on the One Riverside project at a ceremony scheduled for tonight at 25th and Locust. However, if it’s one thing we’ve learned from the tragic events of last night’s Amtrak train derailment, it’s that life can change in an instant. Dranoff Properties announced in an email that the groundbreaking ceremony for the luxury highrise on the Schuylkill River has been postponed “out of respect for all those affected by this tragedy.” No new date has been scheduled at the moment.

Here’s the entire statement: Read more »

Morning Headlines: Dranoff to Give ‘First Look’ at One Riverside, Ardmore Suit Dismissed

Rendering courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

Rendering courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

While we’re all getting iced and rained on this week, it certainly looks like everything is coming up roses for Carl Dranoff.

According to Cheryl Allison of Main Line Times, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Bernard A. Moore dismissed the lawsuit brought against One Ardmore Associates, a partnership between Dranoff Properties and Lower Merion Township, by nearby business owners that could have blocked the transfer of the Cricket Avenue Parking Lot for the One Ardmore Place project. The mixed-use project seeks to bring 110 apartments, retail and a parking garage to downtown Ardmore. It has been contentious from the beginning, sparking a “Rally for Ardmore” back in November, and this current ruling looks to put it back on track for construction to start in the spring.

While the ruling is a major win for Dranoff, we all know it’s not his only project he has going at the moment.  Read more »

One Riverside Gets Roadshow Trolley Tour

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Our coverage of Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside reveals all the amenities the 25th and Locust condo tower is slated to have, but if you’re curious about other features and services, “Dranoff’s One Riverside Road Show” might answer further questions.

The road show will be traveling sales office inside a custom-wrapped trolley powered by the Philadelphia Trolley Works, and will be making its way through the city and suburbs for the duration of September (everywhere “from Abington to Ardmore”). Inside will be sales materials, renderings, and more images of building views.

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Morning Headlines: Changes For Carl Dranoff’s Proposed One Riverside Project

Rendering of One Riverside. Photo credit: Dranoff Properties.

Rendering of One Riverside. Photo credit: Dranoff Properties.

Months after getting an urban-friendly redesign, Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside project is getting another change: 88 condos, prices varying in the range of $700,000 to $4 million. Dranoff made the announcement yesterday during a dinner for real estate agents, according to the Inquirer’s Alan J. Heavens.

Originally, the proposed 22-story tower, which will cost over $100 million, was slated to have 147 luxury rentals. This plan was scrapped when the developer realized demand for condo ownership outweighed a desire for rentals, something he discovered when 10 Rittenhouse proved disappointing for tenants looking for “new and larger condominiums.”

Another developer trying to meet the condo demand is Tom Scannapieco. His 500 Walnut project, which is aiming for a spring groundbreaking, will include 40 condo units in a 26-story tower overlooking Independence Hall (the site is on 5th and Walnut). Heavens writes that pre-sales on that project’s units “are in the multimillions of dollars.”

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Morning Headlines: Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside Gets Urban-Friendly Redesign

carl dranoff one riverside

Rendering of the project via Philly.com

“A true urban tower,” that’s what Pulitzer-winning architecture critic Inga Saffron has called Carl Dranoff’s redesigned One Riverside project at 25th and Locust. The building, proposed last summer, had originally sparked complaints from locals and Saffron herself.

So what exactly are the differences between the old and new design?

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