The sound of explosions rattled parts of northern New Jersey and New York City Aug. 8 when demolition experts imploded two large former military buildings in Bayonne, N.J.
The Word War II-era structures were imploded using 10,000 lbs. of carefully packed dynamite to make way for a new United Parcel Service (UPS) distribution center.
On schedule, both six-story, 1.5 million-sq.-ft. buildings collapsed into themselves at about 10:30 a.m., without any apparent problems, according to New York's Eyewitness News ABC7.
Multiple, timed explosions filled the sky with smoke between the former Military Ocean Terminal site on the Bayonne peninsula and New York City. A crowd had gathered a safe distance from the demolition site to watch the event.
Three years ago, East Rutherford-based Lincoln Equities Group (LEG), a full-service real estate firm, purchased the 153-acre site with the intent of developing the property. Today, the former military base is known as Lincoln Logistics Bayonne.
The site was once used by the U.S. Navy as a supply depot during World War II. In addition, the Navy launched troops and goods overseas from the Bayonne facility.
ABC7 reported that because the terminal buildings were originally constructed to withstand a bomb blast, the demolition crew had to remove panels that made them bomb-proof. Workers then cut inside columns to place the explosives for the buildings' implosion.
"You can imagine imploding buildings that were designed to be bomb-proof was a significant engineering feat," LEG President Joel Bergstein told New York's WNBC 4. "Most importantly, this is a real page turn for the city of Bayonne."
In 1967, the naval facility was acquired by the U.S. Army but shuttered in 1999 amid a wave of base closures.
The implosion was the second of two demolitions performed at the site: in 2018, a crew imploded a 175-ft. smokestack and a 150-ft. steel water tower, according to ABC7 News.
The demolition of the peninsula's last remaining structures marks the completion of three years of site preparation work, clearing the way for construction of the UPS regional hub facility.
Earlier this year, UPS became the site's anchor tenant after signing a lease for the planned 886,256-sq.-ft. package distribution center.
"Since purchasing the massive site in 2018, our crews have worked steadily to ready it for construction, which involved importing over one million tons of clean fill to raise the site out of the flood plain and demolishing multiple former U.S. military buildings," Bergstein said in remarks to ABC7 News. "Now, construction can begin on the 1.4-million-square-foot logistics complex that will create thousands of jobs and play a vital role in expanding the local overall economy."
The UPS facility will feature a customized design to allow for maximum efficiency and loading dock access. The package delivery company wants to use barges to ship fully loaded mail trucks from Bayonne across New York Harbor to the city, saving on fuel and trucking costs.
"We're excited for the opportunity and growth that this project will bring to the people of Bayonne and the state of New Jersey," Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis told ABC7 News. "Lincoln Logistics Bayonne will enable our city to serve as a major focal point for shipping, logistics, supply chain and innovation, and this implosion is the final step before construction begins."
LEG, located 7 mi. from Newark and 8 mi. from Manhattan's Holland Tunnel, provides access to the Tri-State market at a time when e-commerce and associated fulfillment is soaring.
Expected to be completed by 2023, the UPS hub is estimated to create over 1,000 jobs and represents one of New Jersey's largest industrial transactions in 2021.
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