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Gougler Plant Basement Left Buried Underground

City gives OK for property owner to leave concrete basement beneath leveled site of old factory

It turns out the former C.L. Gougler and Machine Co. factory on Lake Street wasn't completely erased from the landscape following its demolition last year.

The concrete basement floors from the 65,000 square feet factory that was demolished in 2012 will remain.

The Kent Board of Building Appeals granted a variance to the property owners, Furukawa Rock Drill USA, that allows the company to leave the concrete floors buried underneath the soil.

City building code requires all components of a demolished structure, including floors, be hauled from the site.

Jeff Crane, president of FRD USA, said officials at the firm wanted to leave the basement floors in as a foundation for a new drive that will be built for the plant, which makes blast hole products and implements for the mining and construction industries.

"We’re going to run a drive in that area and bring the drills in through that side," Crane said. "We need a heavy foundation."

The new driveway for the plant will run overtop the old footprint of the factory and curve north around the remaining buildings. Some of the drills the firm designs weigh as much as 50,000 pounds, Crane said.

Rerouting delivery truck traffic away from the company's offices on the eastern edge of the property will create a safer atmosphere for office and plant employees, he said.

In granting the variance, which was approved this week, the board of building appeals stipulated that FRD USA must create a topographical map showing elevations and depth of the basement footprint, and the company also must record on the property's deed the fact that the basement from the old factory remains underground.

As part of the plan to leave the basement floors FRD drilled hundreds of holes in the concrete to allow rain water to percolate into the ground instead of collect in the floor.

Crane said FRD would never sell that portion of the property independently of the entire complex.

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