Having had a hand in building nearly a dozen concrete hardscape unit plants in the U.S. and Canada, Concrete Stone & Tile Corp.’s (CST) Bill Maguire knows
Having had a hand in building nearly a dozen concrete hardscape unit plants in the U.S. and Canada, Concrete Stone & Tile Corp.’s (CST) Bill Maguire knows a few things about routine siting and permitting issues, plus unusual design and engineering details pivotal to gaining local officials’ approval. His most recent plant is especially suited to Versa-Lok Retaining Wall System and CST Paving Stone products, and located in a sparsely populated Garden State township with shrinking employment base.
We have been unable to effectively serve potential demand for Versa-Lok and CST Paving Stone units in southern New Jersey due to production commitments upstate and transportation, which in this market is limited to about 75 miles for concrete hardscape product, says Maguire. The answer to that is a 47,000-sq.-ft. plant located on 22 acres in Pedricktown, N.J., near Philadelphia and between two major Delaware River crossings. It is a second satellite to the Concrete Stone & Tile Branchville headquarters in northern New Jersey, following a Montgomery, N.Y., operation (Concrete Products, June 2004) opened three years ago.
New Jersey is well served by good thoroughfares, Maguire notes, but due to environmental and political factors is a tough state for land development. Toward the Atlantic coast, along the Garden State Parkway, you have a water table about two feet below ground. In the western part of the state, along the New Jersey Turnpike, townships are looking mostly to attract large warehouses in the million square foot range Û with no outdoor storage Û to anchor their tax base, he explains. Environmental officials are concerned with wetlands protection across New Jersey, he adds, along with maintaining statewide equilibrium between evaporation and rain absorption so that the aquifer is not subject to saltwater intrusion from the Atlantic Ocean. At Pedricktown, CST likewise has a stake in aquifer quality, as production water is derived from an existing well with abundant (250 gal./minute) capacity.
Despite the absence of a blueprint for a behemoth warehouse generating hundreds of thousands in property taxes, CST got a green light for the plant from Oldmans Township. CST acquired the Pedricktown plot from one of its dealers. To secure approval for a concrete hardscape production and storage operation on a former sod farm, the producer had to bring its own best practices for yard and building enclosure design to the table, while addressing township officials’ environmental concerns.
Compliance with the plant permit or local ordinances entails water management, dust control, noise barrier and low impact lighting. Storm water runoff from the site is contained in a three-acre pond at the rear of the property. It collects water conveyed from drainage structures serving the plant perimeter and limited paved areas. Three adjacent, 30,000-sq.-ft. storage areas effect water percolation with the use of CST’s open-cell Turfstone paving units on a Ê-in. gravel base. That feature was borrowed from the Montgomery design, as was the new plant building’s use of exterior sconces that direct lighting downward for minimal impact on a surrounding area that includes scattered, vintage homes.
To assure Oldmans Township officials the Pedricktown operation would have sufficient noise abatement, CST retained a sound engineer to test peak production level acoustics at the similarly designed Montgomery plant. Like the new facility, the New York operation has product machinery housed in a German-designed enclosure of insulated metal panels engineered for sound transmission control. With entry doors closed and product machinery cycling, the enclosure lowers noise from 120 to 85 dB. The plant structure itself is a conventional metal building system with 8-in. blanket roof and wall insulation. At the immediate Montgomery plant exterior, the sound engineer measured during machine operation a 58 dB level Û a benchmark that was to be matched in Pedricktown. Another sound aspect devised for the new plant entails forklift trucks of varying noise levels: Nissan models run during the day, Linde/Baker models at night.
BIGGER PRODUCTS, PLANS
The Pedricktown property operates as CST Products LLC, a joint venture between Concrete Stone & Tile, one of the oldest independent U.S. paver and retaining wall producers, and Montreal-based Group Tremca. The latter company produces concrete masonry, precast and pipe in its home market. Since 1990, it has operated on this side of the border through its Tremron paver franchise, with plants in Miami, Jacksonville, and Arcadia, Fla. Group Tremca’s principals, the Caron family, were seeking U.S. presence beyond the Sunshine State, and had noted a few Quebec neighbors’ success in shipping value-added concrete masonry to mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets.
We were looking to build a plant in a region with strong concrete landscape unit demand, says CST Products General Manager Serge Plante, who arrived at Group Tremca from Lafarge Canada’s cement business. Through mutual industry contacts, we joined forces with Concrete Stone & Tile, a company with deep product and market knowledge. The strategic location, near Philadelphia and Wilmington, provides easy access to a very large market, he adds.
Plante credits success in assembling a Pedricktown start-up team to colleagues that include Plant Manager Mariusz Rudy, seasoned in paving stone and segmental retaining wall unit production; and Sales Manager Michael Anderson, who has been in the industry more than a decade.
CST Products is geared to supply established and new Versa-Lok and CST Paving Stone dealers serving residential and commercial customers. The high-output plant runs 1100 _ 1400 steel pallets through a Hess 1500S Paver Machine.
Among new products earmarked for the Pedricktown line is the tumbled Veranda Wall, a double-sided, stand-alone unit. To finish it and other premium units, CST Products has installed a Hess Tumblemaster aging and splitting machine, and will add aging equipment later this year for CST Paving Stones.
With the primary equipment up and running at Pedricktown, Bill Maguire will turn to another capital improvement, albeit outside concrete, for Concrete Stone & Tile principals Û the Krueger family.