Condit Dam Demolition Begins

Kiewit Infrastructure West, Vancouver, Wash., breached Washington state's Condit Dam on Oct. 26, beginning the nation's second-largest dam-removal project. The $33-million demolition job will remove the 125-ft-tall concrete structure to meet standards for fish habitats. Kiewit burst a hole in the 90-ft-wide base, which emptied the 92-acre reservoir in two hours. The dam removal, set to begin next spring and wrap up by Aug. 31, will open 33 miles of new spawning grounds for steelhead. With the Glines Canyon (210 ft) and the Elwha River (108 ft), the three largest dam-removal projects in U.S. history are under way.


Planned Hudson Yards Project In New York Gets First Tenant

Luxury retailer Coach Inc. will become the first tenant in a tower that developers Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, both New York City-based, plan to build on midtown Manhattan's West Side. Coach will occupy more than 600,000 sq ft of the initial tower, part of the 26-acre, mixed-use Hudson Yards development site. Construction of the 1.7-million-sq-ft tower is set to begin in mid-2012, with completion in 2015. The tower and the completion of the No. 7 subway line extension will help kick-start development of the entire Hudson Yards area, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in announcing the deal on Nov. 1.

Alternative Energy

Another Startup Firm Falls Into Financial Trouble

Beacon Power, which developed a first-of-its-kind energy storage facility in New York state with the assistance of a $43-million federal loan guarantee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court on Oct. 30. The firm built a $69-million, 20-MW flywheel storage facility in Stephentown, near Albany, designed to keep steady the flow of power. Unlike Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra, which received a $535-million U.S. Energy Dept. loan guarantee and filed for bankruptcy in September, Beacon is generating revenue, but apparently not enough to stay afloat. LeChase Construction, which built the plant, is listed as one of the largest creditors; R.W. Beck is also listed. They are owed $89,000 and $81,000, respectively. Beacon also announced it would build a second 20-MW facility in Hazle Township, Pa., with help from a $24-million Smart Grid federal grant and a $5-million state grant.