Stopping the Presses
August 02, 2022
In January 2021, 3 Kings Environmental Inc. began a six-month demolition project on a 23.7-acre property. From the outside, the 350,000-square-foot building looked pretty standard — concreate slabs, retaining walls, etc. On the inside, however, were four machines that signified the end of an era for a Seattle newspaper and posed a significant challenge for the demolition crew.
Located in Bothell, Washington, The Seattle Times printing press property was acquired by AvalonBay Communities in 2019 with the intent to turn the area into a mix of residential and commercial spaces, which was projected to cost $500 million. In late 2020, after a low-bid process, 3 Kings was chosen to demolish the building and the four, 55-foot-tall printing presses it housed.
The demolition started with one crew on the north side of the property, one crew on the south side and one crew working on the interior to extract copper and other salvage materials. For the two crews assigned to the exterior parts of the building, demolition began from the top and worked its way down to a workable level using a high reach, shear and various other machines.
“We used a Hitachi ZX450 75-foot high reach to bring the building lower in order to use smaller machines to process, shear and stage all the different materials,” says Jason Jacoby, 3 Kings senior project manager.
Ninety-five percent of the ferrous metals from this stage of the demolition was then processed on-site to less than 4 feet in length to be recycled and/or reused. Once a large portion of the building that was above ground was demolished and the materials were hauled off-site, the 3 Kings crew began demolishing and processing the rest of the concreate slabs, footings and retaining walls down to crushable sizes.
“We used a Genesis GXT995R mounted to a CAT 349F and Genesis GM1000 mounted to a Hitachi ZX450LC for the bulk of the processing,” Jacoby says. “Two LaBounty UP30 processors with shears were also used to process the lighter-weight metals.”
The crew also used a Pegason XA400 jaw crusher to crush the recyclable material into 3-inch minus pieces. Approximately 16,000 cubic yards of the 4-inch minus material was left on-site to be reused by others after the demolition phase. While the job was a success, it did come with its fair share of challenges for 3 Kings.
“Based on the size of the worksite, it was difficult to combat the theft of nonferrous metals from the building,” Jacoby says. “Even with site security, theft was not able to be fully deterred.” Breaking down the steel and printing press material was also a challenge based on the sheer size of the beams and presses.
“The beams were approximately 2.5 inches thick, up to 48 inches in height and up to 60 feet long,” Jacoby says. “The thickness of the beams proved to be a challenge to shear, even for the Genesis 995. They were manually torched on-site and prepared to length for recycling. The printing presses were hard to process because of their size and the materials they were made from.”
The client’s already short timeline plus additional work requests also posed a challenge, as the company had to increase its crew sizes, sometimes to nearly 30 workers on-site in a day, and work 12-13-hour days to stay on schedule.
The demolition portion of the job wrapped up in late May 2021, and crushing and screening continued through July. Despite the challenges the company faced, 3 Kings couldn’t be happier with the end result.
“This project was profitable and had an incredible amount of recycling, which helps conserve raw material and helps save costs for clients,” Jacoby says. “The project was completed on budget, on time without any delays or injuries, and we had a highly satisfied client.