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Former FMC Factory Makes Room for MLS Stadium

Thu April 07, 2011 - West Edition
Erik Pisor

It seems only fitting that the first stage in constructing a new $60 million stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes — a Major League Soccer franchise — would involve the destruction of an existing facility.

As of early March, Devcon Construction began an estimated $3 million project in Santa Clara, Calif., that involves the complete demolition of a 450,000- sq. ft. (41,806 sq m) factory that previously housed FMC — a company that assembled military vehicles including the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Located on a 14.5 acre site, the roughly 60-year-old, abandoned assembly plant will be completely torn down by early June.

Because the plant has been vacant for some time, Devcon did not have to remove large HVAC cooling units, generators or assembly equipment prior to actual demolition — making this tear down project a straight forward job, according to Ron Woodrum, senior project manager of Devcon Construction.

Currently PC750 and PC650 excavators are tearing down portions of the factory’s roof and outer building shell prior to demolishing the inner segments of the factory. Aside from excavators, skid steers and water trucks are currently being used onsite —with the skid steers mainly providing material separation services.

Once a significant portion of the factory has been torn down, Devcon will bring in a specialty crusher that will breakdown concrete and cement into backfill, which will be reused onsite, Woodrum said. Additional crushed material will be resold, which will aid the contractor in recouping some of the project’s costs.

During demolition operations, the San Jose Earthquakes development team is working to get a building permit approved by the city. Once that happens, construction of the new stadium will begin — a construction process that should take about a year to complete, according to team president David Kaval.

The new stadium is slated to look similar to a European-style, horseshoe-shaped soccer facility, with a roof covering the permanent seating to create intimacy.

The demolition of the ex-FMC factory and the beginning of the stadium project has been in the works for years, as in 2005 the city of San Jose paid $81 million for the property.

The city then spent an additional $19 million to clean up the site.

The San Jose Earthquakes were founded in the early 1970s.

After professional soccer was reborn in the United States with the founding of Major League Soccer, San Jose was awarded a charter franchise —the San Jose Clash.

In 2000, the team renamed itself the San Jose Earthquakes. Following a move to Houston the team was brought back to San Jose in 2008. CEG

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