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Gate Precast Company Adds Structural Plant

Officials with Gate Precast Company have announced the expansion of its Hillsboro operations by adding a structural concrete plant in the industrial park to produce structural parking garages.

The Florida-based company has been in the architectural concrete business locally since buying out Arkansas Precast in late 2008.

It has become an award-winning plant after doing such projects as the exterior of the Perot Museum in Dallas, Church of Latter Day Saints Temple in Gilbert, Arizona, the new Ft. Worth Convention Center Parking Garage, Neiman Marcus retail store in the newly developed Clearfork area of Ft. Worth and Nordstrom’s retail stores in both The Woodlands and Austin among others.

Gate has a total of six architectural concrete plants across the country, and this will be its third structural plant joining ones in Florida and Alabama.

A 50-acre tract of land was recently purchased for the plant. It is bordered by Spur 579 and Industrial Loop, and was part of the Rice Estate.

According to Vice President of Operations Todd Petty, approximately 25 acres of the tract will be utilized by the structural plant, leaving room for company expansion in the future.

 “Gate chose to stay in Hillsboro with its new product line facility not only to be in close proximity to the already established architectural plant but also because where the city is located on the I-35 corridor.” Petty said. “The south-central location is prime in that we can get in and out of DFW which is our most successful market area several times a day with product but we are also closer to points south when we ship to Austin, San Antonio and Houston.    

The new plant will ultimately produce all components required for structural garage construction which includes double T’s, inverted T beams, lite walls, shear walls, columns, stairs, spandrels, etc. 

The new site will have a 75’x600’ building that will house all associated forms to be able to manufacture the required structural components.

While Ken Smith, plant manager, has been pouring architectural concrete since coming to Texas from Michigan about seven years ago, his background was in structural concrete and parking garages in his former state.

He and several of his colleagues joined the Gate team in Hillsboro after their Michigan facility closed as a result of the northern region’s slowed economy.

The new plant will ultimately be adding 40 positions, while the existing plant will maintain its 120 jobs.

Smith noted that while the double and inverted T’s will be the initial components cast in the new plant, the load bearing parts of the garages, such as columns, lite walls, shear walls, spandrels and exterior architectural panels will be produced at the architectural plant, increasing its workload.

“In the past, we felt like the architectural plant lost out on possible market share relating to garage work because all we produce was architectural cladding,” Petty pointed out. “We felt that companies didn’t want to have two separate contracts, one for the structural portion of the garage and one for the architectural cladding due to the coordination complexities that are inherent when multiple subcontractors are involved with similar scopes of work.

“Now we will be able to handle the entire scope and give the design community free reign to explore aesthetic options regarding the cladding portion that previously were not afforded to them, I think this will be huge for designers around the state of Texas as well as beyond!”

The number of employees at the existing plant has continued to grow since the 2008 recession.

Smith said that as few as 60 employees were working when he arrived in Hillsboro, and the company had very little to cast on a consistent basis.

Business has continued to grow as the economy recovered.

In addition to the large building at the new site, there will be a 50’x50’ maintenance building and a batch plant that will be able to produce six yards of concrete at a time.

The future plan design for the purchased acreage includes a 200-foot long extension to the initial manufacturing plant length that will allow additional forms to be utilized in day-to-day operations thus increasing production.

There will also be space at the site for a welding facility in the future. That work will be done at the architectural plant for the time being.

Both the Hillsboro City Council and Hill County Commissioners’ Court recently approved 10-year tax-incentive agreements for the project.

“On behalf of the Hillsboro Economic Development Corporation and the local taxing entities, I would like to welcome the Gate Precast Company expansion.

“It will provide jobs to local residents and add value to the tax rolls,” Arthur Mann, HEDC administrator said.

Gate has already secured its first structural garage project that is scheduled for delivery in May 2018, and future work is being bid daily.

The company expects to be in production by January 2018.

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