Crews, businesses prepare for implosion of old Macy's in downtown

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by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM

HOUSTON – It is a carefully planned out moment months in the making as deconstruction crews prepare to bring down the old Macy’s in downtown.

Adjacent properties are taking precautions for the implosion scheduled for Sunday by nailing up plywood to protect everything from windows to artwork.

Implosions, like the one that brought down the Crown Plaza in 2007, are not that uncommon, but in downtown Houston they are.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re stressing safety. It is downtown. It’s a condensed area with a lot of people and safety is a concern. That’s why we’re pushing such a wide perimeter safety zone,” Kenyattta Parker, Houston Fire Department liaison, said.

Another concern is the main street rail line, which runs right by the property.

“It all comes down to if there’s any possible infrastructure damage we can’t immediately correct over the weekend,” Andy Skabowski, Metro operations manager, said.

Rail service will be suspended 9 p.m. Friday, so work crews can take down overhead wiring and poles. Best case scenario has service up and running again Monday morning.

“Worst case, and it’s not really worst, is that we’ll have equal bus service for everybody to take the bus instead of the train to get where they need to be going,” Skabowski said.

Back in July, there were concerns about dust being kicked up in the demolition preps.

“It’s just a lot of dust. Old smell dust,” Sheila Kraatz, a downtown pedestrian, said.

As for the implosion itself, officials said that they are not concerned about dust.

“No concern about dust. Before (the implosion), you have to get OK’ed by certain agencies as far as dust particles and things like that. They’ve gotten the OK, so it’s a go,” Parker said.

It’s also the beginning of the end of an era.

Fannin and Milam will be closed between McKinney and Polk, creating a blast zone of nine blocks.

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