Local News

Implosion Of Raleigh Convention Center Set For Sunday Morning

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Convention Center Demolition
RALEIGH, N.C. — The city of Raleigh announced plans for this weekend's scheduled implosion of the Raleigh Convention and Conference Center's roof, which involves several street closings.

The implosion, scheduled for 7 a.m. Sunday, is expected to last no more than three seconds, and marks the end of the 28-year-old building. A new 500,000-square-foot convention center being built to replace it is scheduled to open in 2008.

The demolition company will use 50-pound explosives in each of the center's four stairwells. Officials said once the explosives go off, it will collapse the roof like a pancake.

"We've arranged with the city to get street sweepers and a flusher truck. We will also have a barrage of men with brooms," said project manager Thom Doud.

When the roof hits the ground, it's expected to be 98 percent intact. The demolition experts are urging people to watch the implosion live on television and not come down to the site.

Beginning at 5 a.m. Sunday, Raleigh police will close streets surrounding the current convention center.

The streets and intersections that will be affected are:

  • Wilmington Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
  • South Street at McDowell Street.
  • Lenoir Street at Blount Street.
  • Cabarrus Street at McDowell Street.
  • Salisbury Street at Davie Street.
  • Cabarrus Street at Blount Street.
  • Detours will be used to guide traffic around the implosion zone via Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and McDowell, Dawson, Davie, Blount and Person streets.

    Police are expected to begin reopening streets at 7:15 a.m. and all intersections should be reopened by 7:45 a.m.

    Earlier in February, the new convention center's price tag, which started at $180 million jumped to $215 million, and the project is barely off the ground.

    "We haven't started coming up out of the ground. There are still more surprises ahead, so don't get too tied to the $215 (million). I think that's just a temporary stop," said city councilman Tommy Craven.

    The project may be over budget, but it is on schedule. However, there are concerns the new center and the four-star hotel next door at the site of the old convention center will both be done on time in spring of 2008.

    "You won't get the convention business without a four-star hotel to stay in," said city councilwoman Jessie Taliaferro.

    Despite concerns, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance say the investments are paying off. Private investors are now starting their own projects. For example, they are renovating old warehouses like Seaboard Station on Peace Street. They will soon be home to a grocery store, restaurants, clothing stores and a bar.

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