Sunday, February 25, 2007

Construction and Destruction

I've been putting photos of the new parking garage on here that is being built outside our window, but that is just one one tiny part of the huge amount of construction that is going on in Austin.

There are currently seven new skycrapers scheduled to be built in the heart of downtown, mostly to be offices and condominium/apartment blocks. Here's a big one going in on 2nd street, just east of Congress. Here's a digger, framing the newest existing skyscraper, the Frost Bank Tower:

and here's the big hole they're making. Notice the size of the guys in the hole - you can just see their yellow jackets - to fully appreciate the scale here:

Meanwhile, some destruction is going on too. Until this morning, the Intel shell stood on 5th street. This was started several years ago during the tech boom, but Intel never finished it and gave up their lease, and it stood as an empty, controversial frame until now. There's all sorts of local politics surround this which I won't go into here. This is the building last week:

And this morning at 07:37, it was destroyed by implosion. About a thousand people turned out to watch, including Alan and me. You can see the full sequence here, but here's a couple of shots. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG (pause) BANG BANG!


I'll probably go down soon to check out the pile of rubble, for completeness. They say it will take a couple of months to clear it. The ends of the building did not fully collapse - I suspect by design; as it's kept the main pile within the boundaries of the site. So there will be men with jackhammers all around soon, I would reckon.
They're going to build a new courthouse on the site but that won't be built for another two years or so yet...

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