Foundry rehab will be daunting task

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:24 pm

Foundry rehab will be daunting task

By Charles Rathmann, of SBT

The sheer size of the former Pelton Casteel Inc. plant, as well as the buildup of foundry sand over the years, will pose significant challenges for the demolition and cleanup of the site.
The rehabilitation project at 2929 S. Chase Ave. is further exacerbated because the eight-acre site has sat vacant for two years, according to principals at LaLonde Contractors Inc.
"There were actually vagrants living in here," said Mark LaLonde, who is a co-owner and vice president with his twin brother, Mike, at the road building firm that took occupancy of the site in April. "A lot of the copper piping was gone. A lot of the wiring for the plant was also taken for the salvage value. The building was being demolished little by little before we even bought it."
"These buildings had little or no value left," Mark said, adding that portions of the structure may be saved.
"We needed to get an accurate survey," Mike said. "This thing hadn’t been mapped or charted since Chase was a dirt road. We are still waiting for the site plans from T.L. Finke in Bay View."
While boundaries between parcels are still being defined, phase one and phase two environmental assessments have already been performed on the property. According to Joe Michaelchuck, vice president of Environmental Associates Inc., Thiensville, the site is in remarkably good condition considering its long-term use as an industrial facility.
However, because some foundry sand was used as fill near the north end of the property, LaLonde Contractors will need an exemption from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources solid waste rules.
Securing the exemption "should be fairly routine," Michaelchuck said. "The sand was deposited prior to 1970, so it is considered a historic landfill site. And concentrations of various substances in the groundwater do not exceed any acceptable standards."
To enable the company to move from its Menomonee Valley offices before its lease expired at the end of March, the LaLondes hired Sawfish Construction, Milwaukee, to help rehabilitate the Pelton Casteel building’s interior.
Rehab work completed to date has involved a lot of cleaning and removal of foundry sand, Mike said.
"We had a couple of choices – tear the whole thing down or leave it up, but build an outbuilding," Mark said. "Instead, we decided to do a massive cleanup effort and see what we had."
"The Pelton people had left this in an incredible disarray," Mike said. "There was all this foundry sand. It was so bad we actually brought in a water cannon provided by one of our subcontractors. Every wall covering and floor covering had to come out and be replaced. But I guess that is par for the course when you renovate a foundry."
As part of the cleanup process, the twins hired Walters Wrecking of Brookfield to remove six overhead silos that had been used for storing the ubiquitous foundry sand.
"They are basically dust collectors," Mark said. "Every time a wind blew through here, all this sand would come raining down."
Walters Wrecking also will tear down about 80,000 square feet of the total area under roof on the site, including the majority of a 75,000-square-foot building at the south end of the lot.
The demolition will include an 85-foot-tall overhead foundry sand silo, which had been emblazoned with a large Pelton logo visible from the southbound lanes of Interstate 43 at the north end of the building.
Demolition is expected to be completed by the middle of May, according to Mark, so work can begin to reconstruct the building’s shell.
Work to repair the dilapidated parking lot will also be scheduled within the next two weeks, Mark said.

May 2, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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