Born to Ruin - CDI Razes Asbury Park Eyesore

Mon May 15, 2006 - Northeast Edition
David S. Chartock

It took weeks of planning, but in a mere 14 seconds, the 12-story, steel-frame remains of an abandoned, uncompleted condominium building known as C-8 in Asbury Park, NJ, came crashing down.

“It’s about time,” said Kenny Wilson, of Asbury Park, passing by on his morning jog three days prior to the implosion. “It’s been up there too long. It’s an eyesore, you know?”

In 1986, C-8 was part of a $500-million redevelopment project that was never completed because its developers went bankrupt. It was originally planned as a two-building condominium project with a three-story parking garage, according to Henry Vaccaro Sr., president of Vaccaro Enterprises LLC, an Asbury Park, NJ-based contractor removing the debris from the demolition. City planners designated the incomplete condominium building as C-8 because that is its block designation.

“People would take one look and say, ’We don’t want to be down here,”’ said City Councilman John Loffredo. “They used to call us ’Beirut on the Jersey shore.’ And that’s what this looked like.”

In 1993, an unknown prankster scaled the building and hung a banner from an elevator shaft that read: “Fix This Mess.”

Vaccaro said the original project consisted of a 16-story tower and a 10-story building. The 10-story structure was never built. The 16-story tower made it only up to 13 stories with a precast concrete exterior skin and only slabs for five floors.

The exterior skin and the slabs for the five floors were taken down prior to demolition of the steel frame on April 29.

The demolition was performed by Phoenix, MD-based Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI).

C-8 stood abandoned for 20 years. CDI Vice President Douglas Loizeaux said his firm “used 90 pounds of linear-shaped charges and placed them at 150 locations on 36 supporting columns.”

Safety precautions were the result of extensive meetings with the Asbury Park Police and Fire departments, he said, adding that “a two-block area, in all directions, was cordoned off.”

Once CDI imploded the abandoned structure, debris consisted of more than 1,000 tons (907.2 t) of steel, Vaccaro noted.

To perform the debris cleanup, Vaccaro said he will use a John Deere excavator rented from Giordano Scrap Metal of Morganville, NJ. The company also will use its own Caterpillar 330B excavator with a grapple, Caterpillar 235 with a pulverizer, a Caterpillar 235 with a Stanley hydraulic hammer, as well as dump trailers.

The steel, Vaccaro said, will be sold to Mercer Scrap Metal and Recycling Co., of Trenton, NJ. Mercer will be using four Mack trucks with 60-yd. haulers.

“We will bring in two Pegson-Terex jaw crushers we just bought,” Vaccaro said. “One of them is an impact crusher that will make dense grade aggregate from the building’s foundation. This aggregate will be recycled and reused for roadbed, underfloor slabs, and brick pavers.”

Vaccaro said the demolition and cleanup is a $500,000 project that is expected to be complete by the end of May. By mid-May, Vaccaro said, work will begin on the pile driving for the Esperanza at Asbury Park, a two-building, 234-unit, $80-million condominium project being built on the C-8 site by Metro Homes of Hoboken, NJ. Similar to C-8, the Esperanza at Asbury Park will consist of a 16-story tower and a 10-story structure. These buildings will be part of a $1- billion makeover of this seaside community where rocker Bruce Springsteen came to fame.

CDI also has demolished the King Dome in Seattle, Three River Stadium in Pittsburgh, and the Sands, Dunes and Aladdin hotels in Las Vegas.

(Associated Press contributed this story.)