Progressing right on schedule toward its spring 2010 opening, the new Marlins Ballpark promises to be a home run for Miami Dade County.
With a price tag of $515 million (not including public infrastructure and parking garages), this spectacular sporting event venue and welcome addition is a joint venture between Moss & Associates and Hunt Construction Group, in association with MARS Contractors, Inc. Situated on 17 acres of the historic Orange Bowl site in the Little Havana section of Miami, it will span nearly one million square feet and contains 37,000 seats.
“I’ve been involved in many large public/private projects and this is one of the more enjoyable ones,” says Bob Moss, president of Moss & Associates. “It is a large, complex, well thought-out design. The design is going to be spectacular and it’s going very well.” Construction on the project began in July 2009. As construction manager, Hunt/Moss is working closely with the owner (Miami- Dade County), designers and consultants to ensure all budget, schedule and logistics requirement are met.
Just last September, the first concrete pour was done for the super columns. That pour constituted the first estimated 16 feet of the nearly 40-foot-tall rebar cage that had already been erected. When complete, the elliptical-shaped column will stand approximately 8 feet by 15 feet long and will rise 130 feet. The column is just one of the 12 super columns that will support the 8,300-ton retractable roof. Hunt/Moss calls the super columns one of the most unique challenges of this project.
“They are extremely large and the technique for building them needs to be well thought out, well engineered and executed very safely. We have done that. In the 40 years I’ve been in business, this is some of the most unique components of construction that I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with.”
He is also very pleased with the progress of the retractable roof, which is comprised of three panels supported by a two-track system on the north and south sides of the ballpark.
“When the sun is shining or it’s a nice evening, the roof is open,” he says. “If it starts raining, about 10 to 13 minutes after you push the button, the roof closes. It also has a glass wall facing the city to the east that retracts and allows an unobstructed view of the city. When the wind is blowing stronger than desired or blowing rain, then that wall also closes. So you have a retractable roof and a telescoping glass wall that opens and closes as well.”
In case you think this project isn’t spectacular enough, the ballpark is also going green. The construction team has initiated an aggressive waste management recycling program with more than 90 percent of construction waste being recycled. Primary items being recycled include asphalt, cardboard, concrete, metal, steel, paper, plastic and wood, among others. The design of the ballpark has focused on including green initiatives, with a goal to incorporate pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content that will ultimately represent more than 20 percent of the total material incorporated into the ballpark.
The team has also specified an extent of materials to be harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the jobsite to reduce transportation emissions and support the local economy. As the ballpark progresses, other green project elements will include the use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, adhesives, carpets and flooring to improve the indoor air quality in the ballpark.
When asked what he likes most about this project, Moss doesn’t hesitate. “From the president of the Marlins to his entire jobsite management design team, our joint venture team Hunt- Moss, the city and the county, you get the feeling everybody’s on the same team pulling together. It’s one of the more enjoyable teams I have had the pleasure working with on a large complicated public/private project.
He also adds that the ballpark is going to be a wonderful, architectural, significant addition to the Miami skyline and to city of Miami overall. “People are going to want to go there just to see the building and enjoy all the things going on around the building in addition to what will be going on inside the ballpark.”
A Stellar Record
No stranger to big projects, Bob Moss boasts an impressive construction career that spans 40 years. After spending three decades working for other companies, the North Carolina native decided he wanted to strike out on his own, which he did in 2004.
“It’s always been a desire of mine to form my own company,” he says. “I never thought it would happen, but both my sons decided to go into the construction business and obtain business construction degrees. I’m also too young to retire and I still enjoy the business very much.” Since 2004, Moss & Associates has become the fastest-growing private company and one of the largest general contractors in South Florida. Known for delivering complex, landmark projects for the private and public sectors throughout the U.S., the Bahamas and the Caribbean, the company is proud of its construction portfolio that ranges from mixeduse “Main Street” developments and luxury high-rise residential towers to hospitality, office, educational, healthcare, biotechnology and corrections facilities.
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale and with offices in Miami, Tampa, Clearwater and Ocala, the company has roughly 175 salaried employees. It ranked number 39 on ENR magazine’s 2007 list of “Top Construction Managers at Risk” and, more recently, received the 2009 ABC Safety Award.
“We are the youngest company to ever be recognized with the National Safety Award by ABC,” says Moss. “Safety is a huge priority at our company. It is one of our nonnegotiable standards. We want to send everyone home safe every day and it meant a lot to be recognized for this award.”
When asked if he is surprised at his phenomenal success, Moss replies, “Yes. That success is directly related to the outstanding business partners that came to work for the company-—Joe Harris, Ron Dunn, Mike Little, Ted Adams--and the many outstanding business relationships they have accumulated over the years. I truly believe we have the smartest effective leadership team in the business.”
Though 2009 was an especially tough year for Florida’s construction industry, Moss & Associates continues to do very well. Last year, the company reported revenues in the $200-million range. And for 2010, the projected revenue is $200 million-plus.
“Our company, like all companies in Florida, has become a smaller company than we would like at this time,” explains Moss. “We have adjusted our overhead and fixed costs to deal with the challenges of reduced revenue. However, we feel very fortunate that some of the large projects that we have going into this recession will carry us through the recession and are very excited about the years to come.”
The company is also actively pursuing projects in Georgia and with corporate clients that could lead to work in other states.
With such an impressive career under his proverbial tool belt, it’s clear how much Moss loves the industry he chose more than four decades ago.
“I find it to be an extremely dynamic industry with many challenges—a lot of technical challenges and a lot of detail to pay attention to. The greatest thing is you build a monument to your work and your success for many years to come. You have the pride of accomplishment.”
In his limited spare time, Moss enjoys spending it with his wife, Sandra, two sons and three grandchildren. He also loves boating and fishing in Florida and the Bahamas and spending time in North Carolina on the golf course. He is also heavily involved in his church, First Baptist, and volunteering for local charities.
“I love Fort Lauderdale,” he says, “It’s a great community and a great business climate for the kinds of things we do. I am excited about everything that is going on, and if I am healthy, I’ll always be working.”