Local News

Final Preps Made For Convention Center Implosion

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh landmark will come down early Sunday morning. Demolition crews plan to implode the roof of the Convention Center as part of the big renovation project on the new Fayetteville Street.

It was a busy Saturday downtown, as crews made final preparations to bring down the old Civic Center. In the building behind it, workers were just as busy. The Headway Company is moving its corporate offices from New York to Raleigh, in part because of the big downtown changes.

"By the end of the year, we hope to grow to about 170 (employees)," said Headway representative Pam Owen.

Owen and her co-workers are trying to get the new office set up by Monday. They're a little nervous about the implosion, because they're very close to the Convention Center.

"I just hope they know what they're doing," said Owen. "I'm sure they do."

Demolition crews don't expect any problems for surrounding buildings, but they put up some scaffolding and protective netting, just in case.

John Sonnhalter owns a convenience store on the bottom floor of the building that houses the Headway offices. He's a little nervous too.

"I wasn't until today and I saw the netting and I've got windows behind me," said Sonnhalter.

But he believes the new downtown will eventually be good for business.

"Oh, I've been in favor of it since day one," he said.

Fred Heineman isn't thrilled about the changes. He came down to get one last look at the Convention Center.

"Just to say goodbye to an old friend," said Heineman.

Owen, who grew up in Wake County, said she'll miss the landmark, but she's excited about the new view from her new office.

"I know this is going to be a bigger and better Raleigh," she said.

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.

    You can watch the implosion live on WRAL's morning news Sunday morning. Coverage starts at 7 a.m.


    Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
    Dana Franks, Web Editor

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