Beacon News: Valentine’s blast planned for building

Staff Report

The skeleton-like 30-story building at 1515 South Flagler Drive will come tumbling down on Valentine’s Day.

Contractors will implode the building with dynamite charges placed on several floors. “We’ve designed the blast for the building to come straight down,” said Mark T. Wilburn of Advanced Explosives Demolition.

In a meeting at West Palm Beach City Hall Tuesday, contractors and city officials spoke to about 60 local residents who came with concerns about the effects of the implosion.

“It’s going to crumble as it comes down,” said Ted E. Lolley, a seismic engineer.

The implosion is set for 9 a.m. City officials will ask some close neighbors to evacuate for safety’s sake. Palm Beach Atlantic University properties Flagler Towers and Mango Promenade are not required to evacuate, said President Lu Hardin.

“As the safety of campus residents is the university’s top priority, campus officials will be briefing campus residents in their halls with details on when the implosion will take place and where residents should – and should not – observe the event,” said Hardin. He suggested that interested students watch the implosion from the south sides of the fourth and fifth levels of the Dixie Garage in Oceanview Hall, “for an excellent view from a safe distance.”

Hardin said the event gives the university a chance to be a good neighbor to the evacuated residents. Trinity LLC, the site developer, will provide those displaced condo residents with breakfast and a viewing area at PBA.

The 1515 tower has been deserted and a topic of debate since it was ravaged by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004.

The developer plans to build a 299-foot tall luxury condominium on the site. The debris from the implosion should be cleared and the area seeded by the end of May, Wilburn said.

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