Kings of Queens: DEXTALL and Developer Steven Li Team Up to Reinvent Construction in New York City
Scarcely a single a piece of material went to waste, and all it took was a construction crew of just six.
In just three months last summer, one new apartment building in Queens—nine stories tall, containing fifty-five residences—saw nearly its entire façade, 15,000 square feet in all, completely installed from top to bottom.
The secret to this rapid-fire, ultra-efficient rollout:
DEXTALL, the proprietary building-exterior system whose DWall 2000 panels make up the envelope of the now nearly complete 82-77 116th St. in the Kew Gardens neighborhood. Using only a Spydercrane, DEXTALL and the project team behind 116th St. were able to go from skeletal structure to fully-enclosed mid-rise in record time, reducing costs and environmental impact at a single stroke.
Queens project is the brainchild of developer Steven Li of JLS Group Construction LLC
Proof positive of DEXTALL’s versatility and practicality, the Queens project is the brainchild of developer Steven Li of JLS Group Construction LLC, working with architect-of- record Chris Hwa Tan. Occupying a wedge-shaped parcel at the corner of Grosvenor Lane and 116th Street, the 39,500-square-foot building marks one of the first use of the DWall 2000 in a new ground-up multifamily project in NYC, and it bears out the promise of the product as well the technological platform that brought it from the computer screen to the construction site. Beginning in the design phase, clear through procurement and delivery, DEXTALL streamlined the entire building process, the components arriving ready to install with all-in-one insulation, windows and surface cladding.
The simplicity of the panel solution is part of what led Steven Li and JLS to choose it. “Everything is packaged,” notes the developer.
“Before we select anything, we’re looking at costs and time, and any kind of innovation that can bring those numbers down.” After meeting DEXTALL founder Aurimas Sabulis, and familiarizing himself with the company’s products and its values, Li decided that the high performance, low carbon, and minimal maintenance profile of DEXTALL exteriors was exactly what he was looking for.
Fabricated by DEXTALL’s production team, the panels appeared onsite in New York just as the building frame was finished. Once there, the next challenge was the unusually-shaped lot, coming to a sharp point on its southern edge: “The panels had to meet at an almost perfect angle,” says Li. The DWall units not only threaded that technical needle, but brought an attractive, neighborhood-appropriate façade to the quiet Queens block, their alternating swatches of aluminum cladding complementing the historic fabric of the streetscape.
Alongside the obvious logistical and architectural advantages, Li’s choice of the DEXTALL solution will continue to make a difference at 116th St. for years to come, as the building’s residents benefit from the durability and reliability of the easy-to-clean, easy-to-service exterior. For DEXTALL, the project’s completion represents a major landmark, a successful live-fire exercise that shows the company’s prefabricated system can yield results amid all the pressures of construction schedules, budgets, and a dense urban setting. For Steven Li and his collaborators, it showed that DEXTALL is their new exterior of choice—already the company is planning to include the panels in three more Queens projects, set to begin work soon. And that’s only the beginning. “We’re already looking at several more projects together on the horizon,” says Li.