Magazine article Security Management

Satisfying Tenants' Security Tastes

Magazine article Security Management

Satisfying Tenants' Security Tastes

Article excerpt

The old Gimbels department store at Sixth Avenue and Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh sat vacant from 1986, when Gimbels closed, until 1999, when McKnight Development Partners bought it and began the process of transforming it into an 800,000-square-foot office-retail complex. The $65 million renovation involved adding new plumbing, electrical, and heating/cooling/ventilation systems to what is now the city's fifth largest office building. After seeing the developer's plans, including its security plan, the H.J. Heinz Company made the decision to move its 800-person headquarters staff into floors 9 through 14 of the building, now called the Heinz 57 Center, and also leased part of the sixth floor for a test kitchen and training center.

"The security system that was installed at the time we bought the building provided only rudimentary capabilities," says Jeff Weiland, property manager for McKnight in Pittsburgh. "We felt that installing a state-of-the-art system was critical to our plan of attracting a marquee tenant to the building."

Weiland contacted the company's security consultant, Guardian Protection, for recommendations. Weiland stressed that flexibility was the critical requirement because he recognized that the types of companies that might want the space would have their own unique security requirements that McKnight would have to accommodate.

After reviewing available systems, Guardian recommended System Galaxy by Galaxy Control Systems of Walkersville, Maryland, primarily because its flexibility offered the potential to configure the system to meet whatever needs would later be delineated by tenants. A key aspect of this flexibility is that the access control system can work with virtually any type of sensor or reader and the PC-to-controller connection could be established over McKnight's existing network infrastructure.

When McKnight talked to Heinz about leasing the space, security was a major factor in the discussions. Heinz had a considerable list of requirements. The most challenging requirement was that the Heinz floors have a separate security system that could only be configured and managed by its own security staff but that could be accessed by the building security staff so that they could support the efforts of the Heinz team. For example, if an alarm were activated on the Heinz floors, Heinz wanted the alarm to be visible in three locations: at its own security console, at the security desk for the main building, and at the outside security provider. Yet at the same time, the company did not want the building security team to have access to critical management functions such as creating and modifying access rights.

Heinz also wanted extensive video surveillance capabilities throughout its floors and wanted the building security staff to be able to access these cameras to get more information on alarms and other events. Finally, Heinz wanted responsibility for maintaining the system to be delegated to the building staff and outside contractors.

"Heinz basically asked us to provide an extremely capable security system that made it possible to delegate many of the routine tasks to our building security staff and outside contractors," Weiland says. "The requirements would have been very challenging even if we had been designing a system from scratch to meet their needs. …

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