AKR Digs Deep for Rare Cars, Multimillion Dollar Homes

Thu March 25, 2004 - Northeast Edition

Where else but in exclusive Fairfield County, CT, should a home be built for rare cars and other vestiges of automotive excellence.

AKR Excavating Inc., of Valhalla, NY, has been doing site prep for a $15-million car gallery, which, when completed, will be a 20,000-sq.-ft. showroom that will house several hundred cars valued at more than $200 million. The facility will boast heated floors, laminated beams and an elevator system to transport cars to various floors.

AKR’s part of the project, valued at $1.5 million, involves carving out a basement 50 ft. deep into solid rock. In all, 24,000 yds. of rock will be excavated and removed from the site, which is expected to take six months. To do this AKR has employed three Komatsu excavators — a PC300LC-6, PC220LC-6 and a PC228USLC, all equipped with Rammer hammers and all purchased from Edward Ehrbar Inc., of Pelham Manor, NY.

AKR Excavating also has been working on another ritzy project in West Harrison, NY, in Westchester County. There, Alfred Valentine, president of AKR, and his crews are doing $3.5 million worth of excavation and utility work at what will be Stone Manor, a 15-lot subdivision of homes that will sell for approximately $3 million each. This project involves excavating 75,000 yds. of rock, and laying 2,500 ft. of underground utilities. Some of the stone crushed on site is being hauled away and used on other AKR Excavating projects in the area. Besides the 3-in. minus stone, AKR also is producing stone dust for backfill. (Although this project is roughly two years away from completion, all but one home already have been sold.)

At the Stone Manor site, AKR crews have been using two Komatsu PC300LC-6 excavators, two Komatsu PC220LC-6 excavators, one Komatsu PC228USLC excavator, a Komatsu D37E-5 dozer, a Moxy MT36 articulated truck, and a brand new Komatsu BR380JG-1 portable tracked jaw crusher, which was purchased brand new specifically for this job site.

This job site is almost entirely severe with deep granite. Rock on the site is blasted, and the oversized rock is handled with a Komatsu 220LC-6 excavator with a Rammer G80 hammer. The Stone broken down to approximately a 2-ft. minus is run through the Komatsu BR380JG-1 crusher and crushed down to approximately 3-in. minus, which is then used in various locations around the job site.

According to Alfred Valentine, president of AKR Excavating, the profitability of the Stone Manor project depends almost entirely on being able to re-use the excavated and crushed material on site, which made shopping for a portable tracked crusher an important venture.

“We looked at a number of portable tracked crushers and decided on Komatsu for several reasons,” Valentine began. “The machine [Komatsu BR380JG-1 portable tracked jaw crusher] is designed to be very accessible, which makes for manageable maintenance time. The crusher is very transportable on a lowboy, it is not over-width, and set up time is under 15 minutes. Production from the machine has been exceptional. This is very hard rock and we are still getting production levels of 150 to 170 tons per hour depending on how tight the jaws are set.”

Edward Ehrbar Inc.’s reputation and Valentine’s 25-year relationship with the company also helped steer AKR to Komatsu. “We own nine Komatsu excavators that we purchased from Edward Ehrbar. This has been a very good combination,” Valentine said. “From Komatsu we get a very good product and from Ehrbar we get great service. When we call, they have someone on my site within an hour and there is never any question about parts availability. We also purchased the Moxy truck for this job out of their rental fleet. The machine has operated exactly as we had expected and has been a big plus to this project.”

AKR Excavating Inc., which Valentine founded eight years ago, actually started out 25 years ago as Northwood Tree Care (also founded by Valentine), a tree removal firm that still operates today with 35 employees. AKR does commercial and residential clearing, site development and utilities installation. It was through Northwood that Valentine first started doing business with Edward Ehrbar Inc., when he purchased a Morbark chipper and tub grinder.