Downtown Austin building imploded Sunday

It only took a few seconds for the Ashbel Smith Hall building to come down. Dozens watched from behind barriers as it disappeared into a plume of smoke that spread out over the surrounding areas. 

"It's just fascinating to watch how quickly a structure like this can come apart and being laying on the ground in a nice neat pile," said Virginia Baxley. 

The former headquarters of the University of Texas System's Building has stood for more than 40 years in downtown Austin. According to DPR Construction Inc., this is the first building implosion of its kind since the implosion of the Intel Building in 2007.

Given the recent events of package bombs in the city, the company performing the operation wanted people to know the boom was part of their plan to bring the building down. 

Multiple police blockades were put in place to ensure safety. "And we had a lot of boots on the ground to take care of anything that happened as a result of the implosion," said Hoglund. 

Griffin Davis has lived in Austin since the early 1990's and had to get a front row seat to the implosion. "I'm not an implosion junkie but it pretty cool to watch something that large in the city if you're down here all the time to suddenly look up and see the landscape transform. Yes, I would watch it again." 

The more than 40-year-old building was demolished to make way for a new office building.

"I'm pretty excited about everything going up here," said Sean Dalle. 

Crews shut down several streets surrounding West 7th Street between Lavaca and Colorado Street during the preparation, implosion and cleanup. 

"It was a great example of coordination with local city, the fire department our owner it couldn't of been better," said DPR Construction Central Region Leader Matt Hoglund.

Crews took precaution to ensure that historic buildings next to the demolition site weren't damaged. 

"The surrounding areas the historic building we were protecting everything and monitoring so we can make sure if anything was disturbed we can quickly address it," said Hoglund.

City officials along with contractors decided to implode the building earlier in the year as construction crews determined it was the safest and quickest method.

"It was better for the city it was better for the environment around we wanted to make sure that we didn't disturb the city any more than it already is with different projects and what can be done in a series of months took 10 seconds gravity did its job," said Hoglund.


The implosion was handled by Lindamood Demolition, the project's main demolition contractor, and Controlled Demolition Inc., a subcontractor. "We've been in business for over 40 years and we have over 150 employees," said Kayla LindaMood.    

The developer plans to construct a 37-story, 670,000-square-foot building with offices, restaurants, retail space and a gym. "We imploded the building to make way for a great new exciting office tower. The office will go below grade for parking there will also be some restaurants and amenities planned we are going to renovate the CTJ building and there's much more to come," said Hoglund. 

As the walls came down on the building, others were also looking ahead to the future. "It think it was a good choice. The city is going to change and there are buildings that are going to go up and there are some that will go down," said Davis.