Concrete Products

DEC 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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Page 41 of 83

40 • December 2018 During a decade of demographic shifts fueling above-normal residen- tial and commercial development in mid-sized and larger cities, no major ready mixed player has expanded its urban market footprint like U.S. Concrete Inc. Undaunted by the challenges of operating in high-density population centers, the Texas-based producer has pursued major bolt-on acquisitions for Northern California and New Jersey business units, Central Concrete Supply Co. and Eastern Con- crete Materials, over the past five years. Strategic ready mixed and aggregates production or distribution deals have yielded strong foot- holds in San Francisco and the four New York City boroughs—Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island—where batching concrete and maintaining a mixer truck fleet are feasible. Down the Atlantic Seaboard from the Big Apple, U.S. Concrete's Superior Concrete Materials business unit has further demonstrated a command of urban market operating fundamentals, among them a) staying well below permitted air emission or water pollution con- trol thresholds; b) building plants at the lowest profile possible for targeted output; c) candidly informing city officials and residents of the need to have concrete production close to downtown area job sites or up and coming neighborhoods; and, d) recognizing certain capacity sacrifices or extraordinary capital expenditures, especially on greenfield projects, as "a cost of doing business." Through 2017, Superior Concrete operated one plant on a leased, Washington, D.C. site for which eminent domain handwriting was on the wall. Reimagining the Buzzard Point industrial area, District agencies included the property in a master plan for a waterfront neighborhood at the Anacostia River and Washington Channel con- vergence. Leased land harboring Superior Concrete's ready mixed production and delivery activities would eventually be within a land- scaped traffic oval between the Washington Nationals Park (opened 2008) and DC United Soccer Stadium (2018). The oval is part of a $600 million South Capitol Street Bridge/Corridor project improving sports facilities access to and from Interstate 95, and advancing a Buzzard Point master plan. Thanks to expedited permitting and construction, Superior Con- crete now operates a new DC plant on a two-acre, South Capitol Street site across from the old facility, where a tilt-drum mixer, silos and other iron topping out at 80-85 feet were showing their age. The rebuilt operation is the base for 30-35 mixer trucks and equipped for routine days of 2,000 yd. or more output. Property entrances on the main (north) and east (S Street) elevations support a key safety provision: Separation of mixer and material delivery trucks. Site-bound and returning mixer trucks use the South Capitol St. entrance—closest and perpendicular to the charging alley—while dumps and tankers are routed to stockpiles and silo ports through an S St. entrance. District eminent domain proceedings compelled landowner Stuart Investments to cancel Superior Concrete's lease on the old property, and open the adjacent parcel for the near term. That latter property will afford the producer time to secure a permanent site, and partic- ipate in a wave of commercial and residential building, plus agency work, in Buzzard Point and equally or more active areas north. New plant construction progressed under U.S. Concrete Special Projects Manager Amanda Shepherd, who transitioned to the role after nine years staging and running portable operations for the company's On-Site Inc. business unit. "We went to the DC Department of Energy and Environment [DOEE] in fall 2017 to start the air permit applica- tion process," she explains. "We had to have that permit before actual building could start, and asked that the application be prioritized as the District Department of Transportation, other District agencies and Stuart Investments pressed us to move quickly. "The air permit was the biggest hurdle. It's not like going to get a driver's license with a standard procedure. Every permit is written for each applicant and can differ from a neighboring plant operator's permit. DOEE and applicants have to respond in writing to concerns community officials, activists and residents raise in public meetings or comment periods that follow formal notice of construction plans. Getting out of the gate with the replacement plant was somewhat difficult, but we were able to start paving the new yard in December and begin plant erection in mid-January." More than three-quarters of the square site was paved with 8 inches of concrete. Delivery and erection of a new central mixed batch plant progressed from January through May. By Memorial Day, the new Superior Concrete DC operation was running trial batches, then produced 100-plus yards on each of multiple pours over several weeks to break in and test equipment and prepare for decommissioning the old plant. The former officially went live the third week of June, as the existing operation kept orders for various District agencies and large commercial building customers on schedule. Continued on page 42 Capital Investment Superior Concrete Materials deepens, broadens District of Columbia, northern Virginia market profile COVER STORY BY DON MARSH PHOTO: Amanda Shepherd, Superior Concrete Materials

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