RBCD Rewind: Norstar Plaza
In 1898, the New York Central and Hudson River Railroads decided to build a train station and corporate headquarters in downtown Albany.
The resulting structure, known as Union Station, became the crossroads of the Empire State linking New York City and Boston with Buffalo and the west of Albany. In its earlier years, the magnificent station saw thousands of railroad passengers each day. In 1968, the station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, saw its last train depart. It became abandoned real estate and the building’s interior and structural system deteriorated rapidly.
In 1984, with the monumental structure on the verge of demolition, Norstar Bancorp purchased the building and began an extensive restoration/renovation project to convert the building to its corporate headquarters. RBCD was the structural engineering consultant on the project. The scope of this project involved a complex and difficult scope with strict parameters of historic preservation. We evaluated the extensively deteriorated structural steel frame; designed and detailed new floors to double the existing floor area; relocated two 140-foot long, two-story cast-iron interior facades; interfaced new structural components with complicated mechanical and computer systems; designed new complex foundations; and solved structural problems as they arose. The project won numerous awards for engineering excellence.
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