World Record: Wilshire Grand developers attempt largest continuous concrete pour in history

Workers at Wilshire Grand

Sanden Totten / KPCC

Workers use an elevator to enter and exit the city-block sized pit. In some areas the hole is 120 feet below ground level.

Wilshire Grand's pit

Sanden Totten / KPCC

This pit will be the future site of the Wilshire Grand tower. The area covered with rebar is where the concrete pour will take place Saturday Feb. 15th.

Batch plant

Sanden Totten / KPCC

Sergio Serano stands in front of the batch plant where he measures out the ingredients for concrete and uses a machine to load those elements into mixer trucks.

Concrete plant

Sanden Totten / KPCC

This CalPortland concrete plant will be one of 8 plants supplying the pour with materials.


Sanden Totten / KPCC

Salvador Blanco drives a cement truck for CalPortland and plans to work a 15 hour day for the concrete pour this weekend.


Artists rendering of the Wilshire Grand tower (in silver) | AC Martin Architects

An artists rendering of the Wilshire Grand tower (in silver) as it would appear in the Los Angeles skyline.

This Saturday construction crews at the site of the future Wilshire Grand tower will pour concrete for 20 hours straight.

They'll be laying the foundation for a planned 73 story luxury hotel, office and retail space in downtown LA . When completed in 2016 the structure will be the tallest west of the Mississippi.

If this weekend's pour is successful, the building will also set a world record for the largest continuous foundation pour ever.

RELATED: Photos from inside LA's Wilshire Grand Hotel during demolition

An official from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to verify the results.

Here's the plan:

  • 8 plants around Los Angeles will provide concrete throughout the day.
  • 180 concrete trucks will make multiple deliveries to the site.
  • At any given moment, 16 trucks will be unloading their concrete into the foundation simultaneously.
  • 2,100 truckloads of concrete will be poured into the foundation.
  • The foundation will hold 21,200 cubic yards of concrete weighing 82 million pounds when dry.
  • As it dries, concrete undergoes an exothermic reaction, meaning it heats up. It can reach temperatures above 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The crews will run 19 miles of refrigeration piping through the foundation to keep it cool so it won't crack.
  • The current current record holder for this kind of pour is believed to be the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. That foundation took 21,000 cubic yards of concrete.

Most large projects pour the foundation in stages, letting each part settle before adding the next. But that method takes longer and usually costs more money.

While designing the Wilshire Grand, developers determined it would be more efficient to do a single continuous pour.

Since LA has plenty of available concrete factories and cement trucks this was an achievable goal, according to architect Chris Martin.

“We have the chance to do something that’s not usually done,” he said of the pour.

The pour kicks off at 4pm Saturday with a ceremony featuring LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, California State Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, the USC marching band and others.

The public is invited to watch the pour from a be a viewing area at 1000 Wilshire Boulevard.

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