Work crews set a record Sunday by laying 21,200 cubic yards of concrete continuously into a massive downtown Los Angeles construction site on Sunday, where the tallest building west of Chicago is set to be built.
Dubbed "the grand pour," crews worked for 18 hours straight as 208 cement mixing trucks made 2,120 trips to dribble concrete into the foundation of what will be the new Wilshire Grand, a 73-story hotel and office tower. The crew beat an old record set in 1999 by those who built the Venetian in Las Vegas, said a Michael Empric, an adjudicator from Guinness World Record who was on scene.
At 11:15 a.m. truck drivers blew their horns in unison when they completed the challenge and the record was formalized.
"This is the largest record I've been to in terms of scope, and construction," Empric said. "This record is measured in cubic yards, and because it's an engineering project, it's very easy to be measured because it's so precise."
Crews started work just before 5 p.m. Saturday and had expected to complete pouring the concrete in the giant pit late Sunday. But the 150 workers were able to lay an estimated 82 million pounds of concrete faster, said Sean Rossall, spokesman for Korean Air, the project's developer.
"It was pretty rich," Rossall said of the completion. "It was great feeling. We were all very excited. It was a lot of hard work, but everybody is very excited to see this production come to fruition."
The new, $1 billion Wilshire Grand will include 900 luxury hotel rooms as well as office, restaurants and retail space, a sky lobby for upscale rooftop dining and views and glass spire. The project is expected to be completed in 2016 and replaces the former Wilshire Grand Hotel.
Spectators who stood on the plaza level of the Wedbush building at 1000 Wilshire Blvd, watched crews smooth out glops of concrete into the foundation from afar. Some called the moment historical.
"I can't believe I'm here on a Sunday watching cement dry," joked Koreatown resident. Martha Thompson.
But she said the project will serve downtown well, and bring more life to an area she remembers as desolate, but that is booming.
"As a native Angeleno, it's good to see this revitalization," she said.
Dave Baxter and his son, Christian, 14, drove in from Stanton to see the event.
"My son is interested in architecture," Baxter said. "We live for this."
George Benfit, who works in the construction industry, also came to watch the "grand pour."
"It's unique because L.A. has grown in such a short period of time," he said, adding that along with the San Diego (405) Freeway widening project taking place, Los Angeles is in the middle of a jobs boom.
"It seems like we went from 0 to 100 mph," he said. "We need that."
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