Pouring It On!

Story and photos by Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

The large foundation for the 34-story JW Marriott Indianapolis has been set in concrete. It took crews approximately 18-1/2 hours on Oct. 10-11 to complete a major mat pour in downtown Indianapolis. The big pour – the continuous placement of more than 5,800 cubic yards of concrete – represents one of the largest individual mats ever poured in Indiana and the largest hotel foundation pour in Indianapolis history.

White Lodging, Merrillville, IN, and REI Real Estate Services, Carmel, IN, are developers of the $425-million JW Marriott Indianapolis complex at Washington and West streets. Located on a 7-acre site overlooking White River State Park, this massive hotel development includes 1,626 rooms in the JW Marriott Indianapolis, Indianapolis Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown, and Indianapolis Springhill Suites by Marriott Downtown.

The Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Springhill Suites are expected to open in March 2010. And the JW Marriott Indianapolis will open in March 2011, according to Matt Stump, project manager for White Lodging. Once completed, the hotel complex will offer 104,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and exhibit space, and one of Marriott's largest hotel ballrooms in the world totaling 40,500 square feet.

A Solid Foundation

A total of 7,642 cubic yards of concrete composes the foundation for the JW Marriott Indianapolis. The concrete was placed in two pours: On Sept. 20, approximately 1,800 cubic yards of concrete was poured on a third of the mat; and during the big October pour, a total of 5,842.5 cubic yards of concrete was placed on the remainder of the mat.

The new foundation, strengthened with 600 tons of rebar, “varies in thickness between 5 and 8 feet,” says Tim Wuestefeld, a project manager for Hunt Construction Group, construction manager for the Marriott development.

Crews for concrete subcontractor F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc., Indianapolis, along with concrete supplier IMI (Irving Materials Inc.), Greenfield, IN, and R.L. McCoy Inc., Indianapolis, which furnished the concrete pumps, worked night and day to form the foundation.

R.L. McCoy utilized a variety of Schwing pumps during the two pours. For the September pour, two Schwing pumps – a 47-meter and a 55-meter – delivered the concrete to the mat. “We averaged 150 yards an hour per pump or 300 yards, and we were done in six hours,” says Gary Brown, operations manager for McCoy.

The big October pour began at 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 and concluded at 4:30 p.m. the next day, according to Brown. “At one point, we had five pumps in place – a 39-meter, 47-meter, 52-meter, 55-meter, and a 61-meter,” he says. “And we had a 34-meter backup pump that wasn't ever put into play.”

At the height of concrete activity on the downtown Indy site, a long line of IMI concrete trucks stretched around Washington and West streets. Mike Browne, IMI's central region vice president, says 30 trucks were in operation during the first half of the pour, and 60 trucks were on the job during the second half.

Brown says IMI loaded its trucks out of “two primary plants in the evening, using one as a backup. Then, in the morning we began running three primary plants and one backup.”