Alimak Hek aiding in revitalizing Washington D.C.

The Wharf, Washington, D.C., USA

Alimak Hek has always been the pioneer of inventing the world’s first mast climbing construction hoist. Since then, Alimak Hek’s construction hoists have set the industry standard for safe and reliable personnel and material transport around the world. Washington, D.C.’s Wharf project was no exception to this standard.

Just south of Washington, D.C.’s National Mall is a new development of the Southwest Waterfront known as The Wharf. Washington, D.C. hasn’t been recognized as a water­front city and destination since the early 1800’s. A careful architectural analysis was done for this project to ensure that the large development feels like a multifarious community. Two public parks, four piers and the boardwalk surround the establishment creating urban and active environments for its visitors and residents. The entire project, which is already underway with phase one having been completed, will be a mile-long after completion in 2021. One of the first completed buildings is going to be the $60 million Anthem, a 6000-person indoor concert venue which is set to open in October 2017.

The second phase of the project, another 1.15 million square feet of facilities, began in early 2018, it will feature hotel, office, entertainment and residential spaces, as well as restaurants and retail spaces. Also included in this plan is the Capital Yacht Club which will be built on the pier and will offer 98 marina slips. A 700,000-square foot parking garage will provide 2500 parking spaces to the guests. So far, this project has already utilized a total of 1.5 million man hours and 55,000 cubic yards of concrete construction.

This European inspired project is designed with more of a focus on pedestrians with no crosswalks, traffic lights or stop signs. Water taxi services will be provided to various destinations including Georgetown, National Harbor, Alexandra along with other stops to be added in the future. The community businesses will fund a shuttle to and from the L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station – a 10-minute walk from the Wharf. The 400-foot Pier is one of a kind and offers views of Washington’s monuments as well as the revitalized community.

The city has invested $198 million in this project’s infrastructure in an effort to stimulate the economy in southwest Washington, D.C. The Wharf seeks to reestablish this long-forgotten connection to the sea with this development being centered along the Potomac River, breathing life into a once overlooked area. The Millstone Companies successfully accomplished this task with the completion of phase one.

“Millstone brought value to The Wharf Project” said Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman, partner in Hoffman-Madison Waterfront and developer of The Wharf project. “Including them early in the design & planning process proved highly beneficial to the project’s success”. Hoffman won this project in 2006 but it wasn’t until 2014 that he and his partner Madison Marquette broke ground. “Each building had at least one Millstone hoist on it throughout construction, while many had scaffold back-structures which ramped back into the building to accommodate each individual building’s unique design” Hoffman added. “Not to mention that all the hoists required reshoring throughout the underground parking garages”. The Millstone Companies, a construction access equipment specialist, provided the project with 9 construction hoists from Alimak Hek,  scaffolding and shoring for the six-building project. Alimak Scando and Champion units were installed to provide safe and reliable access. Alimak modules are easy to move between sites and to handle while on site. The mast sections fit together easily and because of the strength of the steel, can be installed with minimal anchor points.

This project was brought to Alimak Hek in late 2015. Alimak Hek’s Construction Division National Sales Manager, Tony Dragone, oversaw this project and he worked with John Miller of Millstone equipment. “This was a textbook project, it came to us because of our relationship with Millstone and our past experience with them” says Dragone. One of the biggest challenges faced during this project was the tight schedule but with strategic planning, we were able to meet the deadlines. The installation consists of 4 Alimak Scando 650 FC 32/39 I, 1 Alimak Scando 650 FC 32/39 II and 4 Champion MHT50. These high capacity hoists serve to move personnel and materials throughout the two towers being constructed. High capacity means efficient logistics. This includes high speed, large payload volume and the ability to bring people and materials to extreme heights. These are all time-saving benefits needed for this project, and it creates the need for these things to also be done in a safe manner which is where the Alimak Hek safety ideology comes into play.

Safety has always been paramount for Alimak Hek. As the world leader in rack and pinion drive technology for over 60 years, ensuring safety standards were met for reliable performance and operational efficiency was a top priority for Alimak Hek. At The Wharf, reaching an average height of 45 meters (145 feet), the hoists service multiple landings with varying stops on the various installations. All hoists are furnished with best in class safety equipment, including overload sensors. This is key when transporting personnel and materials to higher floors. Other key safety features for this project included speed control, door interlock control and protection against electrical phase failure. These features prevent unnecessary emergency stoppages and failures.
Alimak Hek always works with customers to provide training for service personnel to ensure that they have the expertise and knowledge they need to oversee hoist safety and provide maximum up-time.

Fast loading and unloading is facilitated by the flexible adaptation to different payload profiles. Leveling at landings with positioning that is accurate to the millimeter for safe loading and unloading. In addition to these features, the intelligent control system minimizes wait time at landings, which is necessary for efficiency especially on a time-sensitive project like the Wharf.

Alimak Hek has made customization a standard procedure. The Alimak Hek modular system has been designed to meet specific customer needs in nearly all situations. Company application engineers combine their skill with our proven products to provide tailored solutions for the most demanding projects. Whether it is a three-story apartment building or, in this case, a water-front multi-use development project in the U.S.A. capitol. Having these custom engineered solutions make the hoists safe and reliable for each project ensuring that the customers’ precise needs are met.

Alimak Hek is proud to be a part of the revitalization of this nation’s capital.


The Wharf, Washington, D.C., USA
Newbuild construction development
Hoist types:
4 x ALIMAK SCANDO 650 FC 32/39 I, 1 x ALIMAK SCANDO 650 FC 32/39 II & 4 x CHAMPION MHT50
Capacity/hoist car:
3,200 kg & 2,700 kg (7,100 lb & 6,000 lb)
Car sizes (W x L x H):
1.5 x 3.9 x 2.3 m (4’-11” x 12’-9” x 7’-6”)
Up to 65 m/min (213 fpm)
Lifting height:
In average ~45 m (~145’)
Alimak Hek aiding in revitalizing Washington D.C.

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The Wharf

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