Dynamite will reduce the 92-year-old Hotel San Diego to dust and rubble Saturday, making way for a new federal courthouse.
The downtown hotel on Broadway is expected to be leveled in less than 20 seconds Saturday just after 8 a.m. by 900 dynamite charges stuffed into its columns. The once-grand hotel is taking a final bow to make way for a new federal courthouse on the block bounded by Broadway, State, Union and E streets. Patrick Clauss, president of the construction company awarded the $3.1 million project, said the hotel will go down "very quickly," the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The implosion will result in closures of eight surrounding streets for three to four hours. The trolley won't be stopped, but some downtown buses will be detoured starting at 6 a.m. Saturday. Organizers said people with respiratory problems who plan to be within three or four blocks of the hotel might want to take precautions such as closing windows and doors and shutting off air vents for 10 minutes after the blast. The hotel was built in 1914 by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels. In 1983, the building was designated a city historic landmark and was thought to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, though that registration never occurred. Some wanted the government to build the courthouse behind the hotel, thereby retaining the hotel facade and lobby. But stricter guidelines for federal buildings after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing made that impossible. Also, the hotel failed government tests for earthquake safety and structural soundness.