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Concrete plant demolition clears way for Cabela’s

The Betco Block Plant in Gainesville is no more.

Three cranes with cables connected to the tower of the old concrete facility pulled it down about 11 a.m. today. The plant was closed to make way for a 79,000-square foot Cabela’s outdoor store.

Prior to demolition, workers cut through the steel support beams of the structure with welding torches. While doing so, workers could hear the building begin to “dance” and “sway,” according to a demolition supervisor.

When workers were done cutting, they all moved away from the building. A countdown was given, and then the tower crumbled into pieces, collapsing inside a massive dust cloud reminiscent of watching and old Las Vegas casino being brought to the ground.

“We worked for seven months to negotiate a deal for this 13-acre property,” said Jim Mertz, with Peterson Companies, the firm that will develop the Cabela’s store.

While workers prepared the tower for demolition, Prince William County officials took the opportunity to herald the coming of the new outdoor retail giant that is expected to open in 2017.

“This plant helped build the new Prince William into a prosperous, wealthy place for families,” said Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart.

It’s an election year for the Board, and Stewart aims to keep his seat. He’s expected to use developments like these to convince voters the county is attracting jobs and growth in the region.

The Betco Block Plant opened in 1967 and made concrete blocks for construction use. It was located just off Interstate 66 in Gainesville and was one of the last few standing structures manufacturing structures in a county that is shifting its job focus to attracting more bio-science and technology jobs.

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