Wendel Companies, a local design and construction firm, received two Engineering Excellence awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) New York. They will be recognized with all of the award winners in April 2017 at the annual gala. ACEC New York selected the Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center and the Peace Bridge U.S. Commercial Warehouse for Platinum and Gold awards, respectively, based on the quality and significance of each project. In both projects, Wendel worked in conjunction with the owner and multiple stakeholders and regulatory bodies to produce energy efficient buildings with top security measures to serve at important U.S./Canada border crossings.
The City of Niagara Falls envisions its new Intermodal Transportation Center (lead image) as a catalyst for redevelopment in the North Main Street commercial area. The new station opened on December 6th and adjoins the historic 1863 U.S. Customhouse, which is a confirmed station on the Underground Railroad and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The synergy between new and old carries through the project.
As the home of America’s most famous waterfalls, the city of Niagara Falls has been a tourist destination for well over a century. The new Intermodal Transportation Center caters to tourists and residents alike with improved passenger facilities that will include future food concessions and retail spaces. In addition to the Amtrak rail service, the station centralizes and promotes trolley, bus, and taxi services, and it offers connections to nearby Niagara Gorge hiking and biking trails. Additionally, the station will include a Harriet Tubman Museum to honor the site’s connection to the Underground Railroad.
Wendel provided a number of services for the project, including various engineering specialties, architecture, landscape architecture, and construction management. Due to the requirements and regulations of the border crossing and the historic site, among other considerations, Wendel also worked with U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection, State of New York Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Rail Administration. The firm consulted with the New York State Historic Preservation Office and the United States Department of Interior as well as the University at Buffalo Archeology Department for appropriate handling of the Customhouse and the Underground Railroad site.
Twenty miles south of Niagara Falls, Wendel led another recently completed border crossing renovation and additions to the Peace Bridge U.S. Commercial Warehouse. Ongoing community concerns about vehicle emissions made ameliorating air pollution a high priority for the project, while executing the facility renovation without disrupting daily business activities posed a logistical challenge. In addition to meeting these needs, the project achieved LEED Silver certification in December.
Project engineers used building modeling software to identify the Variable Refrigeration Flow (VRF) system as the best HVAC option to fit with the existing building structure, and it reduces the building’s carbon dioxide emissions an estimated 86 percent annually. Other features such as daylight ‘harvesting,’ recycled materials and water efficiency further embody efforts to make the project environmentally responsible.
These two projects highlight Wendel’s work in Western New York. Leon Wendel started the company in Niagara County in 1940. Now based in Williamsville, the firm maintains offices in downtown Buffalo, Long Island, Rochester, Syracuse, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Richmond, Clarksburg, and Washington, D.C. Its wide range of services includes construction management, surveying, planning, interior design, and energy efficiency, in addition to architecture and engineering.