It was the end of an era Sunday morning as demolition crews imploded the Macy's at 1110 Main — a building known to generations of Houstonians as the Foley's flagship store.
Unable to cross safety barricades set up a block from the site, hundreds of spectators planted themselves on street corners to get a clear view of the tumbling structure.
" The explosion is actually the easy part. The hard is getting ready."
Explosives popped just after 7:30 a.m., followed by a moment of eerie stillness before the building collapsed upon itself. Cheering crowds quickly dispersed as plumes of dust rolled through nearby intersections. Fifteen minutes later, the brown cloud lifted to reveal a small pile of rubble where the Foley's building stood since the late 1940s.
"The explosion is actually the easy part," Henry Bryant with Dykon, one of the demo firms involved in the project, told CultureMap after the implosion. "The hard is getting ready. We've spent months clearing out the inside of the building and removing any hazardous materials . . . Everything has to be perfectly safe when the building finally comes down."
Branded a Macy's in 2006, the vintage 10-story behemoth long marked the center of Houston's downtown retail district since it opened just after the Second World War. But after decades of battling ever-shifting shopping patterns, the outmoded Kenneth Franzheim-designed store finally closed its doors this past March.
Mayor Annise Parker and her Downtown Retail Task Force recently released plans for the now-empty building site, envisioning it as the western end of a new shopping area stretching from Milam to Discovery Green.
The task force's final report, unveiled Sept. 12, looks to redevelop the former Macy's block as "an anchor retail space plus office or loft conversion."
Here's a quick cell-phone recap of the implosion: