10/20/14 10:45am

Ground-level view corridors were limited by extensive street closures early Sunday morning, which meant that the best views of the controlled demolition of the denuded Houston Club Building at 811 Rusk St. were to be had from inside neighboring office towers. The video above and its entertaining soundtrack was posted to YouTube by Culturemap yesterday (and have already inspired its first quasi-parody video), though it’s almost identical to the (longer) raw video feed posted by KHOU. Once cleanup is complete, Skanska will begin construction of the 35-story Capitol Tower on that site.

Video: Culturemap/KHOU

Wow. Wow. Wow.
10/15/14 11:30am

Partially Demolished Houston Club Building, 811 Rusk St., Downtown HoustonThe denuded 18-story frame of the former Houston Club Building at 811 Rusk St. (pictured above before storms blew away much of its blue clothing early last week) will vibrate and then collapse after 520 lbs. of explosives detonate in and around the structure shortly after 7 am this Sunday, October 19th. If you’re a controlled-demolition gawker hunting for a spot to watch it all go down — and maybe take in all the dusty aftermath, you might want to note that streets will be shut down more than 2 blocks away in every direction before the blast. Although many nearby office buildings will close up late Saturday evening, they may not kick out all workers who have arrived earlier. “Project managers discourage anyone from coming down to see the implosion in person for safety reasons,” notes Click2Houston’s Syan Rhodes. Her station is promising to broadcast a livestream of the implosion on its website that morning.

Photo: Marc Longoria

09/16/14 12:30pm

PENNZOIL PLACE’S STICKY DAMAGE CONTROL PLAN Yellow Stickers on Pennzoil Place, 711 Louisiana St., Downtown HoustonChronicle real-estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff has answers to a couple of questions Pennzoil Place tenants, visitors, and passers-by might be asking right about now: 1) Why is this iconic double-towered downtown office building at 711 Louisiana St. downtown now covered with small, round yellow stickers? and 2) If the building gets scuffed up during the implosion of the remaining hulk of the Houston Club Building across the street, how will property managers be able to distinguish new nicks and scrapes from all the old ones? [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photos: Nancy Sarnoff

09/09/14 2:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MORE THAN READY FOR THE NEXT BIG BOOM DOWNTOWN Drawing of Dynamite“I cannot wait until they implode the Houston Club Building. Everyone who works in Pennzoil Place is currently on the verge of losing their minds because of the constant jackhammering on the building to prepare it for demolition. We’re happy the end appears to be in sight, but another six weeks of this is going to be tough to handle. I hope the construction workers are well-protected from the noise and dust this project is creating. If we’re going nuts, then I can’t imagine how they must feel.” [Courtney, commenting on Blowing Up the Houston Club; Dismantling a Radioactive Barge in Galveston] Illustration: Lulu

12/09/13 10:15am

After the countdown Sunday night at 9:30 pm, blasts went off on 3 of the 4 booster towers surrounding the Houston Astrodome. But there was no liftoff. As the towers collapsed into dusty piles moments later, it became clear: The blasts would not be enough to propel the Dome off its foundation and into outer space. They’ll have to find another way.


No Liftoff
11/26/13 10:15am

Ramp Tower, Harris County Domed Stadium, Reliant Park, Houston

Craig Hlavaty rounds up more detail on plans to implode the Astrodome’s 4 exterior ramp towers, which brought to the monolithic stadium structure a more castle-like appearance when they were added for upper-deck and wheelchair access in the late eighties. Cherry Demolition will knock the circular structures down after dark, beginning just after 9 pm on Sunday, December 8, though the weather may require changes to the schedule. Only 3 of the towers will be dynamited and dropped, however; the fourth tower will be brought down piece-by-piece with demo equipment. There won’t be a Texans game going on in Reliant Stadium, so viewing vantage points may be hard to come by.


The 3 Implosions
11/18/13 10:30am

Harris County Domed Stadium with Towers

Reliant Park and Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. officials haven’t announced how they intend to demolish the Astrodome’s 4 exterior towers. But on Friday, a city permit was granted for “Implosion of the Helixes at the Astrodome.” Kaboom! The towers, which contain helical ramps for visitors to walk or roll up and crowd down, were added to the Astrodome in 1989 to comply with then-new accessibility regulations. The work coincided with the removal of the original outfield scoreboard and its replacement with 15,000 new seats, at the instigation of Houston Oilers’ owner Bud Adams. Why are the towers going away?


Dome Blow-Up
09/23/13 9:45am

So much for total environmental control, huh? The Foley’s, then Macy’s, at 1110 Main St. is no more, succumbing to a helluva lot of dynamite early Sunday morning. Completed in 1947 and designed by Kenneth Franzheim, the 10-story, 791,000-sq.-ft. building was the last department store Downtown. It’s still not clear what will be going up once the retail rubble is cleared from this block bound by Main, Travis, Dallas, and Lamar, though an employee at Hilcorp — which is connected to 1110 Main Partners, the entity that owns the property — has told Swamplot it’ll be “a regular looking office building tower over 20 stories high.”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Why not revel, for a moment, in the glorious dust?


09/20/13 2:00pm

WHAT TIME THE EXPLOSIONS DOWNTOWN WILL WAKE YOU UP A rep from Metro confirms that the booms of the controlled demolition of the former Foley’s at 1110 Main St. will begin booming between 7:10 and 7:20 this Sunday, September 22. (That’s 10 minutes past sunrise, for all you morning people.) And if you’ll be driving Downtown to find parking and get yourself in implosion position, note that the street closures that Swamplot reported yesterday will begin at 6 a.m. [Metro; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Foley’s: Jim Parsons

09/19/13 2:30pm

Note: Story updated below. And read more here.

Here’s a map from the city showing which streets will be closed Downtown this Sunday morning for the controlled demolition of the 10-story, 791,000-sq.-ft. former Foley’s and Macy’s. Unfortunately, the closures appear to hinder access to the best views of the falling 1947 Kenneth Franzheim-designed shopping box. In fact, the Houston Chronicle cites a fire department press release that might frustrate any interested parties: “[T]here will be no ‘safe viewing site lines’ to observe the implosion.”


08/15/13 4:00pm

Mark your calendars! The implosion of the big brick box that used to shelter Macy’s and Foley’s has been scheduled bright and early: It’ll go down at 6:10 a.m. Sunday, September 22. The Kenneth Franzheim-designed department store at 1110 Main St. has already suffered some selective chunkage, and it looks like serial crusher Cherry Demolition will be in charge of setting off the final charges.

Though Cherry is pretty experienced with this sort of thing, the building’s proximity to the light rail line seems to have spurred Metro into some serious contingency planning: Internal documents show that Metro has set up alternative service for anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks in case something goes wrong.

Here’s the plan: The trains will stop running on the evening of Friday, September 20, to give Metro plenty of time to remove poles, wires, brackets, supports, etc. A contractor has been hired to “Utilize Containers,” says those documents, and build a wall around the water spouts and decorations at the Main Street Square station catty-corner from the building. Meanwhile, Metro will be double-checking its insurance policy.


01/10/12 12:29pm

Yesterday a few technical glitches got in the way of Swamplot’s plans to post videos showing the last moments of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Houston Main Building, the iconic 18-story limestone-clad building at 1100 Holcombe Blvd. once known as the Prudential Tower, which was demolished over the weekend. But they’re here now. Enjoy!

Jarringly, the official video below tacks an animated version of M.D. Anderson’s “Making Cancer History” tagline onto the end of the well-documented urban rupture — allowing us to imagine that this violent implosion is merely the urban expression of the institution’s core cancer-eradicating mission. Cancer be gone! in 10 . . . 9 . . .


01/06/12 4:50pm

There are no good accessible viewing areas for this weekend’s scheduled implosion of the Houston Main Building at 1100 Holcombe, the folks at M.D. Anderson insist. (That space they’re squeezing media reps into to watch the big bang? Too small.) But why get up so early on a Sunday morning just to catch a few lungfuls of white powder anyway? Instead, you can watch the festive destruction of the iconic former Prudential Building live on the web from this link. The dynamite is scheduled to go off January 8th at 7:52 am (unless, of course, one of those Life Flight helicopters is coming in). And there’ll be higher-res video available later.

Photo: Candace Garcia

11/28/11 10:03pm

An M.D. Anderson Cancer Center official tells the HBJ‘s Jennifer Dawson that the UT institution will likely wait 3 to 10 years before putting any new structure on the site of the former Prudential Tower it’s been working diligently all year to knock down. Workers were moved out of the 18-story structure — renamed the Houston Main Building — last year. The hulking remains of the iconic 1952 Kenneth Franzheim building at 1100 Holcombe Blvd. will come down in a cloud of dust after several rounds of dynamite blasts on January 8th.

M.D. Anderson senior VP Dan Fontaine says the Med Center institution doesn’t even have a design yet for the 2 new structures — likely for outpatient care — that will eventually be built in that location. Until the institution finds a better use for it, the demo site will be turned into a “park-like setting.”

Photo: Karen Lantz

11/15/11 10:18am

The folks charged with blowing up old buildings at UT’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have set a January 8th date for the big dynamite surgical event meant to knock down what’s left of the institution’s Houston Main Building. The hulking 18-story tower at 1100 Holcombe Blvd. was built in 1952 for Prudential Life Insurance as part of Houston’s first-ever suburban office campus, designed by architect Kenneth Franzheim. The Med Center institution bought the building in 1975, but began the long demo process early this year.