Want to watch a building get demolished using explosives? Head over to Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany Saturday morning and you’ll see just that.
The former Wellington Hotel Annex, a closed 11-story building on Howard Street, is slated for implosion to make way for construction of a $66.5 million convention center.
The implosion will occur at 9:30 a.m. and will last just 10 seconds. So get there on time.
“From the time that we start the implosion to the time that it’s over is 10 seconds,” said Joseph Nicolla, president of Columbia Development, the company that owns the site. “It will happen in an instant.”
Nicolla said about 75 pounds of dynamite will be used to take down the building. The explosions will draw the building in from the top to the bottom and into the middle so it doesn’t explode out.
“There will be a series of large explosions, which basically take out the structural system of the building,” he said. “After that there will be a series of smaller explosions. The demolition will be contained; no debris will go outside the implosion site.”
Nicolla said onlookers should expect dust within a 50-foot radius of the site. He stressed that the demolition will be safe and won’t be a disruption.
The implosion was originally planned for Thursday, but was rescheduled due to availability of the demolition team. Nicolla said the new date is ideal because there are fewer commuters and workers in the area at that time.
Jackson Demolition of Schenectady is leading the project and working with Maryland-based Controlled Demolition, Inc. for its expertise on implosions. CDI imploded the Seattle Kingdome in 2000.
Columbia Development obtained a permit from the city of Albany to move forward with the implosion after the company originally opted against using explosives to demolish the building.
“Our priority for this project is to demolish the building expeditiously, safely and with minimal disruption to the city and this plan accomplishes that,” Nicolla said.
Before demolition was scheduled, the building was thoroughly searched to identify hazardous materials such as asbestos. The area was cleared of all materials containing asbestos.
“As soon as these requirements were met and national experts CDI became available we decided to move forward to bring the building down in a matter of minutes as opposed to weeks of demolition,” Nicolla said.
As if Nicolla’s job isn’t stressful enough, he is tasked with the most important job Saturday morning — pushing the button.
“I’m pushing the button,” Nicolla said. “So I know where I’m going to be during the implosion.”
The implosion will cause road closures and parking restrictions in Albany from 7 a.m. until about 1 p.m. Saturday.
From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Howard Street between Lodge Street and Eagle Street will be blocked. Also, Lodge Street between Beaver Street and State Street as well as Wendell Street between Beaver Street and Howard Street will be blocked.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. road closures include:
• Eagle Street between Madison Avenue and Pine Street
• State Street between Eagle Street and Pearl Street
• State Street between South Swan Street and Eagle Street
• Park Street between Lancaster Street and State Street
• Lodge Street between Pine Street and State Street
• Norton Street between Green Street and South Pearl Street
• Beaver Street between Wendell Street and Green Street
• Hudson Avenue between Green Street and South Pearl Street
• Howard Street between Lodge Street and South Pearl Street
• Market Street between South Pearl Street and Eagle Street
• Grand Street between Phillip Street and Market Street
Parking restrictions from 12:01 a.m. to 1 p.m. include:
• State Street, both sides from South Swan Street to Eagle Street
• State Street, both sides from Eagle Street to Lodge Street
• State Street, north side from North Pearl Street to Lodge Street
• Park Street, both sides from Lancaster Street to State Street
• Eagle Street, both sides from Lancaster Street to State Street
• Howard Street, both sides from North Pearl Street to Eagle Street
• South Pearl Street, both sides from State Street to Hudson Avenue
• Market Street, both sides from South Pearl Street to Eagle Street
• Lodge Street, both sides from Beaver Street to State Street
•Wendell Street, both sides from Howard Street to Beaver Street
All pedestrian traffic within the road closures will be prohibited from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the city recommends that people seek alternate routes to avoid delays.