FDOT Awards Contract to Spanish Co.
Right: I-95 is Florida’s main east-coast corridor, running 381 miles from the Fla./Georgia border south to Miami (pictured). A Spanish company won a bid to widen one stretch.
Reuters reports that FCC, a Spanish construction company, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (stock symbol: FCC.MC), has a contract to widen I-95 highway in Florida. The contract is worth an estimated $121.5 million. This is FCC’s first major building deal in the U.S.
I-95 is Florida’s main east-coast highway, connecting such cities as Jacksonville, Daytona, New Smyrna, Edgewater, Cape Canaveral, Vero Beach, West-Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and South Beach.
Financial analysts say FCC, like other Spanish builders, is expanding abroad to make up for a slowdown in its housing market. FCC is already present in the U.S. cement market and last year bought two industrial waste treatment plants.
A Jan. 14, 2008 news item out of Palm Bay, Fla. indicates city council members are frustrated FDOT plans to cut four miles from an Interstate 95 widening project through Brevard County because of insufficient funds. George Lovett, director of transportation development with FDOT, told the Palm Bay Council the state is $50 million short to widen a 22-mile stretch of I-95 from four to six lanes. Lovett reported the bids came in too high, and thus the $198 million three-year project in Brevard County would be cut to 18 miles.
Another recent news item reported FDOT is seeking federal funding to construct express lanes along I-95 in South Florida.
Wichita’s Lusco Brick Co. Commemorates 100th Year
Bruce Gilkeson, president of Lusco Brick & Stone Co., will celebrate 100 years in business this fall. The company will sell more than 12 million bricks this year.
Bruce Gilkeson, president of Lusco Brick & Stone Co. in Wichita, Kansas, is the third generation of his family to serve as president of the company. His father and grandfather also led the company.
The company primarily sells residential, architectural and paving brick, but also architectural concrete masonry units, concrete pavers, glass block, retaining wall systems, cast stone and natural stone.
That the company has continued through three generations of Gilkesons does not surprise Bruce Gilkeson. Innovative materials are still being introduced, but brick, one of man’s earliest building materials, continues to be a popular choice for building and landscapes.
The company was founded in 1907 as Lumberman’s Supply (the two prominent investors were lumbermen) and sold mostly brick, coal and cement. The owners acquired the V.V.V. Brick Co. in Neodesha, Kansas, the Cement Stone Co. in Wichita and the Trusswall Stone Co. in Kansas City in 1927 and reincorporated as the Lusco Brick & Stone Co. V.V.V Brick and the Cement Stone Co. proved unviable and were closed by the time the post-war building boom of the late 40s arrived.
Today, Lusco Brick & Stone supplies the Wichita market, with access to brick from more than 100 different plants.
Old Kings Dock Makes Way For “Moby Dock”
The Kings Waterfront development in Liverpool, England, combines an arena, convention center and exhibit hall. Granite pavers are the hardscape.
Once a major port of call, Liverpool, England began declining in the 1930s. Things went from bad to worse when it was heavily bombed during WWII.
In the 1960s, an outpouring of musical talent, aka the Merseybeat, put a focus on Liverpool with a few lads forming groups called the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Today, the city has only half the population it did back in the 1930s, but the city is regenerating itself. In fact, the European Union has designated Liverpool as the 2008 European Capital of Culture, a year for the city to showcase its cultural life and development.
Next to the Albert Dock, the old Kings Dock is being redeveloped as the Kings Waterfront development. Just inaugurated is the Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool, a combination arena (Echo Arena), conference center (BT Convention Centre) and exhibition hall in a single building that from the air looks a bit like an open waffle iron, minus the ridges. The structure is a nifty bit of engineering—the 1,350-seat auditorium and 18 meeting rooms lie directly above an 80 by 50 meter column-free exhibition hall. Wilkinson Eyre designed the building.
Some Liverpudlians refer to the Centre as “Moby Dock.” The dock is on the Mersey Sound, which you might know from the 1964 song “Ferry ’Cross the Mersey” by Gerry and the Pacemakers. Despite the whale-like proportions of the center, it’s noted that out about midstream on the ferry, Moby Dock does not block the downtown skyline.
EDAW master planned the Kings Waterfront development and Gustafson Porter Ltd., a London landscape architecture firm founded by Kathryn Gustafson and Neil Porter in 1997, designed a plaza paved in grey granite, offset by willow trees. It will serve as an outdoor amphitheatre and market area.