Facility Maintenance Decisions

Lighting Upgrades Vital Part of Massive Mall of America Expansion

Part 3 of a 3-part article on the Mall of America's lighting upgrades

The Mall of America’s ongoing lighting system upgrades and structural expansions keep the facility in a state of change, so communicating clearly with upper management is critical for Brantl.

“Budgeting is always a challenge because some of the stuff you budget for, you actually need to educate them on why you’re budgeting for it,” Brantl says. As an example, Brantl helped top management understand his thinking behind a significant investment designed to help the mall avoid possible economic disaster.

Several years ago, he submitted a capital budget that included funds to buy additional backup transformers at $250,000 apiece — a significant investment.

“They wanted to know why we needed two spares,” Brantl says. “I basically said, ‘The transformers are 20 years old, they are spec-made, and (it) can take up to six months to get one. If one goes down and within six months another goes down of the same type, this mall is closed. How much is that going to cost per day?’"

“My job was to show them what it would cost to do that before we get a new transformer. It would have been a ridiculous cost — millions of dollars, rather than just a quarter of a million dollars for two spares. In the end, they agreed I was right. We ended up getting it, but that was almost a two-year process. Budgeting is easy. Getting them to go with it is hard.”

Brantl says he understands the reason top executives would question such a request before approving funding.

“You have to sell it, but you also have to have facts that make sense,” he says. “I don’t blame them. If we’re going to spend this money, we want to make sure we’re spending it wisely.”

A future of change

Brantl and his staff will continue facing lighting challenges. He is now overseeing a $325 million expansion on the Mall of America’s north side that includes a luxury hotel, a 10-story office tower, and about 60 new retailers.

The expansion includes lighting upgrades to the adjacent common area of the mall that blends the new area into the existing north corridor. When the expansion is complete, Brantl will take control of the office tower and the mall’s new common areas.

“All of the old HID lighting and any compact fluorescent lighting is going out, and new LED lighting is coming in” to the north corridor, he says. “So there’s another energy reduction for us as far as getting all the big cans out that are metal halide and ballasts. Right now, we’ve got two guys working on those fixtures, tearing them apart so that we can recycle them properly.”

Continue Reading: Project Management: Lighting

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Lighting Upgrades Vital Part of Massive Mall of America Expansion

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  posted on 8/14/2015   Article Use Policy

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