Adamo Hot in Detroit

Adamo Group has recently been awarded contracts for the demolition of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Guest Services Tower, the city’s Mackenzie High School, and the former Riverwalk Plaza Hotel in Jackson, MI.

The demolition of DMC’s 90,000 square foot Guest Services building, at the corner of Mack and Beaubien, began Tuesday October 9th and is part ofthe DMC expansion program. The nine story building with a 9,500 square foot footprint was constructed of heavily reinforced concrete. The penthouse and mechanical room were located on the roof.

Adamo’s scope of work involves complete demolition of the building above and below grade. The basement will be backfilled with Class II sand compacted in place.

Upon completion of the demolition Adamo will also be responsible for site grading and balancing and placement of GEO-GRID material topped with eight inches of 21AA crushed concrete. This site work will be performed to the general contractor’s specifications in preparation for the construction of a new DMC parking garage.

The 85-year-old former Mackenzie High School at Wyoming and W. Chicago in the southwest part of the Motor City was built in 1927. It contains some 227,000 s.f. A new $21.8 million Pre-K to 8th grade school was recently built on Mackenzie’s campus. It opened to 1,200 elementary and middle school students.

The new Mackenzie Pre-K to 8th grade school is one of three Detroit Public School new-construction schools to be completed this year, totaling more than a $100 million investment which will provide some 3,000 s $500.5 million Capital Improvement Program.

The new school will feature a large open media center serving the needs of both the elementary and middle school students. The new structure was designed with a focus on safety and environmental responsibility through adherence to national standards set by CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design). The minimum goal that the Detroit Public Schools is trying to meet is the Silver LEED Certification for the project.

The Detroit Public School’s Capital Improvement Program is currently in its third and final year of construction, demolition and improvement projects. Adamo has already demolished the following Detroit Public Schools: Jared W. Finney, Martin Luther King, Harding Elementary, Amelia Earhart, Clark Elementary and MAAT Imhotep. The School District is also moving forward with the demolition of seven other closed schools. Detroit Voters approved Proposal S in November 2009 that enabled the School District to access $500.5 million for all of these various capital school improvement projects. The Detroit School District received the sixth largest allocation in the nation. Improvements include technology upgrades and security initiatives. Under federal guidelines all of the bond dollars must be spent within three years.

The 120,000 square foot, ten-story former Riverwalk Plaza Hotel demolition is slated to begin later this year for Jackson County.

The One Jackson Square Complex in downtown Jackson, MI is occupied by Allegiance Healthcare which includes the vacant 10-story Riverwalk Plaza Hotel, a multi-story professional office tower, and a one story medical office building which connects the two multistory buildings. The complex also sits atop a two level underground parking facility.

This project poses some unique challenges: the underground parking, office tower and one story medical office buildings are to remain open and active during demolition. The complex is also bordered on one side by the Grand River. In order to prevent any possible demolition debris from moving down the river, Adamo will anchor a floating boom in the river.

Upon completion of the hotel demolition, the one story medical office building that is attached to the hotel and its basement will require structural reinforcement and restoration prior to backfilling.

Adamo will utilize the CAT 385CL Ultra High Demolition (UHD) Excavator on all three projects. The implementation of this machine with a specialized Multi Processor attachment allows 360 degree hydraulic rotations letting you position the attachment for more precise, quick and cost effective demolition of heavily reinforced multi-story structures.

The MP30 attachment with an over 90’ reach will be used for the DMC project and the MP20 attachment with an over 140’ reach will be used for the Riverwalk project. The 385CL UHD provides Adamo with the precision and control necessary to remove all of these structures safety and efficiently. Adamo was the first contractor to premier the CAT 385CL as an owner/operator in the United States.

The Adamo Group is a national, family owned company established in 1964, and a Charter Member of the NDA headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. They are a one-stop source for comprehensive demolition, environmental remediation consulting, real estate adaptive reuse and site preparation. Adamo’s team of professionals excels in the industrial, municipal, and residential sectors.

Adamo Group: Redeveloping Its Market

One of the most unfortunate by-products of the sub-prime meltdown has been homeowners walking away from their mortgages. They pack their cars in the middle of the night and just leave their homes vacant. Some cities and states have been harder hit by this phenomenon, and Detroit is arguably near the top of this unfortunate list. The city received a one-two punch in the form of the economic slowdown and the implosion of the U.S. auto industry. This once-proud city which had a population of 2 million residents now has little under half of that.

Ambitious Plan to Transform the City

Detroit’s new mayor, Dave Bing, has an ambitious plan to combat this urban blight by tearing down uninhabited neighborhoods and transforming run-down eyesores back into parks and vegetable farms. In the near future, suburban commuters will potentially drive through a country side of sorts to reach the downtown area.

This plan means a lot of potential business for the Adamo Group, a world-class site remediation and redevelopment advisor. Adamo began as a small Detroit-based demolition company that was founded by John T. Adamo Sr. in 1964. Today the firm is run by his two sons, John Jr. and Richard, who proudly manage and expand the certified Detroit-Based Business, Headquartered in Detroit Business Enterprise. Richard, who is the current president of the firm, recounts some of the residential work the firm has been seeing lately:

“Our niche is in heavy industrial and commercial demolition, but right now we have a back-log of about 150 residential homes the city wants torn down. A lot of towns, in addition to Detroit, are using the stimulus dollars to tear down a ton of houses and small-scale commercial buildings. We’re currently working with officials from Michigan, Detroit, Wayne County, Highland Park and Pontiac [Mich.] to rid the towns of the blighted areas. There’s been a big push to see who can spend the money first, which translates into a lot of big business for us.”

Even though the recent residential projects are not the company’s original niche, the Adamo Group has been trusted with an increasing number of these jobs because of the company’s long history of successfully combining engineers and management professionals to navigate the environmental issues and regulatory mandates that impact demolition. The firm has over 40 years experience in real estate reuse and site preparation within the industrial, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, commercial redevelopment and government/municipal sectors.

Taking Down a Classic

Richard details a more typical project that has made Adamo one of the largest demolition contractors in the Midwest. “We just completed the Lafayette demolition project here in Detroit. It was basically the demolition of a 250,000-square foot 15-story building in the heart of downtown Detroit. It used to be an office building built in 1923 in the neoclassical style. It was across from the historic Book Cadillac Hotel, which was just recently renovated, yet there was this huge eyesore across the street. The Detroit economic development group contracted us to demolish it. What made this project tricky though is that it was located on a triangular patch of land that also housed two Detroit icons: American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island. They’re two restaurants serving Coney Island fare, but if you come to Detroit, you eat there at least once. The Lafayette building towered over the restaurants by an additional 12 stories. We did it, though, with no complications or incidents. We used some selective demolition work to ensure zero damage to the restaurants.”

When the Adamo brothers took over their father’s firm, the company already had a well-established reputation for safety and job completion in the Detroit region, but, seeing Adamo’s potential, the brothers successfully transformed Adamo into a national brand. “Over the years, we’ve established some really good relationships with our clients. It’s very rare in the demolition industry to get repeat business. You’re either dealing with a client who may only have one building he wants taken down, or you make even one small mistake on a project and you’re going to get added to a no-bid list. We have always made sure that our guys on the job site know what they are doing and strictly follow all of our safety procedures. That has allowed us to get in with the big industrial corporations who have plenty of mothballed factories that need to come down,” says Richard.

The Adamo Group’s safety procedures include daily equipment inspection, periodic maintenance of all machinery, stress operator awareness, plus predetermination of all hazards and optimum transport routes. The company ensures the project parameters maintain compliance with applicable regulatory standards and guidelines, including OSHA, and federal guidelines such as NESHAP, RCRA, and CERCLA. The Adamo Group’s ability to work within strict time and space constraints,  maintaining detailed records and successfully implementing critical strategies, has allowed the company to establish itself in projects including complete or partial structural demolition, manufacturing facility renovation, interior demolition and renovation, transit projects, multi-story demolition, excavation and grading, hazardous waste removal, utility installation and asbestos abatement. Seen as an example thanks to its time/cost saving and environmental safeguard techniques, the Adamo Group’s activities have helped promote best practices within the industry.

Diversity Is Key to Future

Looking towards the future, Richard sees conscientious expansion as the key to Adamo’s long-term strategy. “Diversification is a definite path for us, but we’re going to make sure that we’re going to add services in a field that we’re familiar with. You have to have a good business plan and you need to be cognizant of the risks. We’ve seen a lot of guys come into this area with wonderful ideas on how to build a better mousetrap, but they all went belly up because they didn’t understand the regulations or have thorough mismanagement. We’re not going to make those mistakes.”

With this approach as a guide, the Adamo Group has gathered experience beyond demolition in asset recovery, site work, civil, site utilities and paving. With a strong plan for the future, and an established track record of safely executed projects, the Adamo Group is assured a place in Detroit’s greener future.

Supreme Court Case

The Supreme Court case Adamo Wrecking Company v.United States is included in the Library of Congress. This case is widely referred to as the baseline for interpretation and application of NESHAP standards in legal education today.

In 1977 a particular concern to demolition contractors was the inability to keep up with the frequent changes and the interpretation of methods for achieving compliance with NESHAP standards. John Adamo Sr. faced the unfortunate circumstance of being cited by the US EPA for non-compliance to a regulation that had undergone a recent change and was ambiguous in its meaning. John faced not only the threat of a substantial monetary penalty, but also incarceration if the US EPA could prove he had willfully violated their regulation.

Instead of just accepting the EPA’s determination and paying the fine to avoid possible incarceration, John took it upon himself to stand up to a system that was making it largely impossible for contractors to comply with its standards. With the financial assistance of the NADC, John took his fight all the way to the Supreme Court to define work rules and regulations for demolition contactors that were patently unfair under the US EPA’s NESHAP guidelines. He was ultimately victorious in his fight for a contractor’s right to choose its means and methods to achieve compliance with laws and regulations. The case, Adamo Wrecking Company v. United States, is included in the Library of Congress and a current law student recently remarked to John Adamo Jr. that his class was studying the case as part of a Law School assignment.