Old Concrete Supports New Development

100,000 tons of material will be repurposed for future projects


A big demolition project at Port San Antonio paves the way for future jobs and is serving as an important example of innovative recycling—in a BIG way!

Earlier this year, the Port began preparing nearly 200 acres at its industrial airport to support future development of new aerospace and advanced manufacturing facilities. These spaces will accommodate future careers as the Port continues to move forward to create 5,000 new jobs on its campus by 2020.

Central to the effort to prepare the land along the airfield was demolition of nearly half a million square feet of obsolete warehouses. These structures dated back to the 1940’s and were well beyond repair, with many roofs already caved in.

The ongoing site preparation project is a partnership between the Port, the City of San Antonio and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration—designed to strategically upgrade the Port property to support the growth of future employers in aerospace, advanced manufacturing and other target industries.

As part of the $5-million site-preparation effort, what remained of the wooden structures was easily removed in a matter of days earlier this year.

But these old warehouses rested on top of huge slabs of concrete—some of them up to four feet high. That’s a total of 100,000 tons of material.

One scenario to dispose of the concrete was to break it down into boulders and transport it to the landfill. That would have amounted to 5,000 truckloads of waste or, if stacked onto a football field, the pile of debris would be over 23 feet high.

Instead, the Port and its contractor, Alamo Environmental (also known as Alamo 1), opted to repurpose the massive amounts of concrete and utilize the product for future developments on the Port’s 1,900-acre property.

Over the course of several weeks, the concrete was meticulously broken-down into gravel-sized pieces by an array of bulldozers and a specialized concrete crushing machine. By April, several large mounds were in evidence along the south airfield.

These huge volumes of crushed concrete will remain at the Port and lower the costs of future development. They will be used in the construction of new hangars, workshops and manufacturing facilities along the northern airfield and elsewhere on the property, which includes a Railport and mixed-use center. The crushed concrete is an ideal ingredient to repurpose as foundation material for new buildings and roadbeds.

“As we upgrade the property each day, we do it with a sharp focus on creating opportunities that will attract new industries and bring new employment opportunities for San Antonio,” says Ray Flores, the Port’s vice president of real estate development, whose team is overseeing the site preparation project.

“And it’s great to be able to rely on innovative best practices—like concrete recycling—as we advance our work. Our effort has a big payoff today by keeping thousands of truckloads of debris that would have otherwise gone to the landfill and make it easier and more economical to build future facilities throughout our property. Cost savings today will make us more competitive and ultimately benefit tomorrow’s customers.”

Learn more about the growing practice of concrete recycling and its environmental benefits in projects throughout the country.

The land being cleared is next to the Port''s industrial airport—an ideal location to grow aerospace and advanced manufacturing facilities.