Business magazine Crain’s New York Business investigates why an innovative, compact crane called the “Skypicker” is not allowed to operate in the city after multiple successful runs on a Manhattan Construction site:
Dan Mooney’s Skypicker crane could save millions in building costs—but not from the Astoria warehouse where it’s been mothballed
Dan Mooney set out to refashion the city’s construction industry four years ago, just as the current building boom was getting underway. The 50-year-old crane operator and president of crane leasing company Vertikal Solutions was helping to build the 34-story Hilton Garden Inn in midtown. The concrete Gene Kaufman-designed building was nothing spectacular—drab compared with the glass-and-steel skyscrapers being built nearby. But with Mooney behind the controls of the Skypicker, a lightweight mobile crane he’d designed himself, the building went up in a relatively quick six months.
After the Hilton job, contractors and developers started calling, eager to shave costs and accelerate construction of midsize towers.
“As soon as I put that up,” Mooney said, “my phone went bonkers.” He rushed to have four more Skypickers built.
After two deadly tower crane collapses in 2008 and a crawler crane collapse in February that killed a bystander, New York has been struggling with the risks and costs of using heavy machinery on city streets as the construction industry rides a boom in high-rise building. Mooney hoped the crane he’d invented would make skyscraper construction easier and safer. Most importantly, he hoped to provide an alternative to the high cost of using tower cranes, making smaller projects less expensive.
Four years later, Mooney’s five Skypickers sit idle in an Astoria warehouse. After initially approving the Skypicker for use in New York City, the Department of Buildings reversed course, and with resistance from the union representing the city’s tower crane operators, the Skypicker has yet to get back in the game. “It was like Herod wanting to kill Jesus when he was 2,” Mooney said.
Read the entire article at Crain’s New York Business…