Talk of firm’s arrival rocks Redwood City port

A company that supplies the ingredients for concrete could move into the Port of Redwood City next year to capitalize on projected shortages of the construction material, but neighboring businesses are already pulling up anchor, fearing the firm will bring noise and dust to the area.

Eagle Rock Aggregates, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has earned the environmental approval it needs to move into nine acres of an abandoned 18-acre site at the Port of Redwood City. The site was formerly used by Gibson Environmental; Texaco has also used the site to store jet fuel. The Port Commission will consider approving a lease with Eagle Rock in July or early August, Port Director Michael Giari said.

If approved, the facility could be up and running by next summer, shipping in 700,000 tons of aggregate rock during its first year, and bringing in up to 1 million tons per year within five years, Giari said. The material, used to make ready-mix concrete, is an important component of constructing everything from building foundations to freeway overpasses.

“We’re looking at entering the whole California market,” Eagle Rock General Manager Bill Terry said. Already, the company is building a shipping site in Richmond and is eyeing spots at ports in San Diego, Los Angeles and Long Beach.

While the facility would only create a handful of new jobs, it could mean $400,000 to $600,000 in new revenues for the port. The site has been abandoned since 1995, when the entire 18 acres brought in roughly $250,000 to $300,000 per year, said Giari.

The aggregate rock would be brought in by barge or ship, 60,000 tons at a time. However, the material would then be trucked to local cement makers, adding an estimated 266 trucks to Seaport Boulevard daily, according to the project’s environmental review.

That doesn’t sit well with companies in neighboring buildings, such as Fat Box Films at 499 Seaport Court, which is already looking for new quarters for its film-production house.

“If there are three things we can’t tolerate in this business, it’s sound, vibration and dust — and their entire business is sound, vibration and dust,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of production for Fat Box. “I think most of the businesses in this building are planning on

moving.”

Port of Redwood City

» Founded: 1850

» Current directors: Michael Giari, Port Commission

» Location: 675 Seaport Blvd.

» Wharves: 5

» Channel depth: 30 feet

» Businesses at port: 18, mostly maritime or bulk shipping

» Tons shipped in 2006: 1,833,022

» Barges in 2006: 91

» Ships in 2006: 60

» Money contributed to Redwood City coffers in 2006: $600,000

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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