Combining Luxury and Security

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Stephanie Silk

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Shoppers go there to spend. Residents go there to sleep. Kids go there to play. Tourists go there to ogle. The Americana at Brand is a new mixed-use development in Glendale, Calif., where these groups congregate daily. The six-building, 15.5-acre project with 75 retail shops, 100 condominiums and 238 apartments was developed by Caruso Affiliated, the same real estate firm that brought Californians The Grove. The $400 million project, modeled after Madison Avenue in New York and Newbury Street in Boston, was ultimately built with two things top-of-mind — luxury and security.

With The Americana at Brand as an example, California has become a launching ground for mixed-use developments, a recent trend in the real estate world. A security challenge, however, is the need to bring technologies together to protect residents, retail tenants and guests. The Americana at Brand achieves connected security with access control and video systems spread throughout the campus.

Aaron Haas, director of pre-construction management for Caruso Affiliated, says that security was considered two years before the development's opening in early May. “We knew that because of the clientele of a luxury property, it had to be developed with a high amount of security in mind. So, in the concept development phase, we considered these things, and when we got into the design development phase, we started getting into specifics about how each system would work,” Haas says. “There is a huge amount of pressure to get the security right. We have to be very conscientious of the security of our residents, tenants and guests.”

Caruso Affiliated worked with security consulting company PlanNet, Brea, Calif., during the design development phase of construction to develop infrastructure and system requirements for all low-voltage systems on the property including access control, video and parking controls. According to Adrian Marsh Jr., registered communications distribution designer manager, security practice with PlanNet, they helped Caruso Affiliated understand what type of conduit pathways and spaces were necessary to support the technology. Together they helped develop bid drawings and performance specifications for all of the system contractors. Caruso Affiliated researched its options by talking to vendors, going to conferences to look for the most user-friendly, state-of-the-art system and putting out a performance specification stating its preferred video and access control standards. Caruso Affiliated ultimately chose Sentry Controls, Sun Valley, Calif., a provider of parking and building access solutions, to integrate security.

Tim Harrison, sales manager for Sentry Controls, like Haas, acknowledges the unique security challenges that come with mixed-use developments. “You don't want the general public invading residential areas, so it poses significant challenges with how to lay out security,” Harrison says. “In a typical access control environment, your goal is not to let anyone in the perimeter. But here, you want people in general elevators, general corridors, etc. — but you don't want them to get off at certain floors or go in certain hallways.”

With the goals of allowing access to residential tenants without restricting them and keeping retailers and the general public out of the residential area, several access control solutions are in place.

The access control system that supports all card readers on the property is the IdentiCard Premisys platform. The system also logs and monitors access control events for all buildings and creates access privileges for residential tenants and Caruso Affiliated employees.

An adjacent 3,200-spot, 1.2-million-sq.-ft. parking facility has limited access by way of the access control platform integrated with a parking revenue system from Skidata. In certain tenant/visitor entrances, the tenant enters the property via a card read by one of the proximity card readers on the Skidata ticket dispensers or by having his or her credentials read by the Tagmaster long-range Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) reader located near the ticket dispenser, which will pick up the tag placed on the resident's automobile windshield. Visitors will pull a ticket and pay for their stay via parking attendant, Skidata Pay on Foot machine, validation or authorization from the visitor.

In other entrances of the parking garages that are “Tenant Only,” there are high-speed roll-up doors from Rytec. These doors are also either activated by a card read or via a valid tag read from the Tagmaster AVI reader. “If a resident has an AVI reader on their dashboards, they can just drive up and gain access into residential parking. The doors roll up and down in a few seconds — the residents can't be followed in,” Haas says.

The parking garage also has various levels of access. “During the week, employees can park on top. There are gate arms that prevent retailers from getting into the upper level during those hours. Also, as you enter the building, parking controls allow retail guests to come in. At the third floor, where there is valet parking, there are more gate arms,” Haas says.

To control visitor access inside residential buildings, a Door King system allows residents to control the elevators. “If a visitor comes to the building, he or she calls the tenant from the box in the lobby, and the tenant enters a code on his or her keypad to let the person into the elevator. Once in the elevator, the visitor can only hit the button of the floor the person they are visiting is on,” Harrison explains.

Throughout the public area of the development, indoor and out, Haas says the goal for video system installation was not to make it feel too intrusive.

To provide this environment, American Dynamics cameras watch the public area. Wide dynamic range Discover Mini Domes are fixed throughout corridors, hallways and parking. Speed Dome Ultra PTZ cameras are also used throughout parking and shopping areas. “The cameras are not concealed to customers, but also are not obvious. Caruso Affiliated's position is that their residents, retail tenants and guests are of paramount importance, and security is a high priority,” Harrison says.

To monitor video, there is a Glendale Police Department substation within the property and a round-the-clock staffed, security control center that monitors the access control, parking and video surveillance systems. “Inside the room, there is a security console with three computer workstations for access control, video forensics and camera callup, and one CPU for administrative work,” Marsh explains. “On the wall in front of the console there are six 42-in. Samsung LCD monitors that show various camera views. The security staff uses the technology within the rooms for spot monitoring, monitoring of automobile and pedestrian traffic flow, video forensics in case of an event, logging and review of access control events, and customer service via parking and tenant intercoms throughout the property.”

“Sentry has also provided three training sessions for the staff, and ongoing training as required,” Harrison says.

The entire system took 16 months to build, with the bulk of equipment being installed just six weeks before the development opened on May 2.

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