By Seth Daniel
Back in May 2013, Wynn CEO Steve Wynn transformed the old Everett Armory into a temporary Las Vegas paradise – with colorful flowers, Frank Sinatra tunes, palm trees everywhere and a slick ambiance – and then the casino developer proceeded to talk for 20 minutes about the unique essence of the windows he planned to put on his multi-billion dollar casino building if awarded the gaming license.
As he described the patented ‘Wynn Bronze’ glass panels – which already adorn his Encore building in Las Vegas – the crowd of about 300 Everett residents listened silently and completely enraptured by his description of why glass panels could be so intrinsically important to a multi-billion dollar project built to deliver all the finest things.
It was a moment in the great casino fight for Everett that will go down in the history books, and few have forgotten Wynn elaborating on his glass windows while surrounded by a one-day fantasy land.
However, Wynn Bronze has always been just an idea and a proposal.
Now it’s a real thing.
Wynn Bronze has arrived in Everett.
Construction Director Peter Campot announced this week that they are installing Wynn Bronze panels on the building at the rate of one floor per week, and they are already on the eighth floor.
The massive concrete structure is now built out in total to the 17th of 27 floors, with the Wynn Bronze – officially known as the curtain wall – following close behind, he said.
“Our goal is to put on a floor per week of curtain wall,” said Campot. “There are more than 4,000 panels to put on. That means we need to do about 170 panels per week and finish one floor per week. We got off to a slow start on it, but we’re now really on track to do that. As we go up with the structure of the building, the curtain wall follows close behind.”
Wynn Bronze is a patented type of glass panel, and it’s no simple, every-day glass enclosure. It is, in fact, a specialty product. A company in Minnesota is the only company that makes the Wynn Bronze – a company called Viracon. To get that look, the company embeds copper and silver metal into the glass during production, producing a specially tinted double-paned window with Argon gas between panes. The overall window is assembled in Canada, and daily shipments of the Wynn Bronze come to the site before 6 a.m. They spend little time on the ground, but rather are moved into place quickly.
Most panels on the front and back of the building are about 5’ x 10’, but the side panels can be much bigger. They weigh anywhere between 50 pounds and 1,200 pounds.
Campot said the installation process involves hoisting the individual pieces up to the floor above, then using a smaller crane to lower them into place and attach them to the building.
“Once we get them up to the floor above, we use the small crane to lower them into place on the side of the building,” he said. “It’s kind of like a high-tech Erector set.”
The installation work is being done by a 50-50 split crew of union glazers and union ironworkers.
He said they hope to be fully enclosed by June 1. However, work on the interior finishes of the tower and the gaming area/function hall begin immediately when the glass is put in place. So, he said, that means interior work using temporary heat has commenced on floors one through eight.
“The curtain wall installation gives the project a considerable ‘wow’ factor,” said Campot. “It goes from just a construction project to a finished product. That is really exciting and a milestone.”
For those in Everett who remember the glowing explanations in the old Armory some years ago by Steve Wynn himself, now is the time that they can actually see it in person.
Other items of note:
- By April, in about 10 weeks, Campot said they will have topped off the tower, hitting the 27th floor. At that point, the cranes that have been on site for more than a year will disappear.
- Hancock on the mind…when constructing a glass-covered tower in the Boston area, the subject of the new John Hancock tower always comes up. After constructed, that building was famous for its glass panels popping out of their placement and tumbling precariously and dangerously to the ground. Campot said that’s always considered when building in the area, but there is no chance of that happening at Wynn.
“We’re all aware of the Hancock problems,” he said. “Buildings are designed differently now and they know how to design them to even withstand the 500-year storms. That’s not going to happen here.”
- The function hall and gaming space are in the process of being fully enclosed and those “podium” sections of the building will be the next big milestone for enclosing the building.
Campot said that by late spring the exterior façade of the podium will be completely finished on the Broadway side of the building.
- In January, the frequently referenced curved escalators in the grand lobby will begin to be installed. Only one company makes curved escalators and that company is Mitsubishi. Campot said it is quite a production to install those. They will coincide with the installation of all other escalators and elevators.
- At this point, around 2.3 million sq. ft. of the building (including the parking garage) has been enclosed. That’s about two-thirds of the total square footage of the project. Campot noted that the entire gaming areas is now enclosed.
- Prep work is already underway to make room for the elaborate landscaping plan to be put in place. Once the weather breaks, likely in April, the landscaping work on the site will begin in earnest – transforming the look of the site completely.