The owners of a 33-story office building at 75 Broad St. (which is a few blocks east of the WTC and close to the NY Stock Exchange) invested $30 million to create a technology center suitable for Wall Street-type tenants. This foresight paid off after the attack. At about 7 p.m. on September 12, Con Ed disconnected the building from the power distribution grid in order to route sufficient power to other downtown buildings.

The utility was able to make this request because the building has 25 diesel engine generators for standby use, enabling the tower to remain operational when basic services fail. Occupying the 17th and 18th floors of the tower, these 800kW units are served by an 18-in diameter pipe that runs around the perimeter of one floor for fuel delivery to the engines. The pipe holds 8,000 gal of fuel, while 32,000 additional gal of fuel are stored in the subbasement.

The massive business disruptions caused by the WTC attack have brought renewed interest in standby power systems and redundant data centers in the New York metro area and elsewhere. At the same time, buildings equipped for “telco hotels” or “hubs” are getting attention. Businesses that use paper records extensively may rethink their storage methods, says Snezana Anderson, a management director of Insigna/ESG, a brokerage services company.

Photo courtesy of Luke Mata.