Memories: Orlando's Amway Arena imploded

Man struck by rebar, injured in Sunday morning blast

ORLANDO, Fla. - Amway Arena was imploded in downtown Orlando on Sunday morning, paving the way for the creation of the city's Creative Village.

The implosion sent a massive dust cloud across downtown moments after the 7:30 a.m. blast.  The cloud dissipated minutes later, showing the flattened arena.

"It looks like a giant pancake," said WKMG-TV helicopter reporter David Sprung.  "The roof seemingly stayed intact, but it's on the ground on top of what was the arena."

SLIDESHOW:  Amway Arena imploded

A man nearly two blocks from the arena was struck by a piece of rebar and injured.  The man, who was hit on the leg, was taken to a hospital.  He did not appear to be seriously injured.

Hundreds gathered to witness the event, and a viewing area on Colonial Drive on the north side of Lake Dot was set up for people to watch the implosion.

Crews had been preparing for the implosion since December. Workers attached about 200 pounds of explosives to the 72 support columns. On Sunday, they detonated each one individually, one after another, in what's called a daisy chain. The chain destroyed the support structures and then gravity took over, bringing the building down on top of itself.

"In the concrete columns, we put in dynamite. Gets a blasting cap, which set off the dynamite," said Sean Flanagan with ZMG Construction.

The detonations took about 15 to 20 seconds to demolish the $102 million structure, which opened in 1989.  The facility was the home of the Orlando Magic and the Orlando Predators, both of which now play in the new Amway Center, and the Orlando Solar Bears hockey team. It also hosted numerous concerts and events.

City official Heather Fagan said says the city worked very hard to make sure that there was nothing hazardous emitted into the air during the implosion, despite the concerns of some nearby neighbors.

"What's inside there can mess you up. Never know what's in the concrete," said Sydney Sullivan, who lives near the arena.

Fagan said they've done asbestos removal and have provided plenty of information for surrounding residents on how to keep the dust out of their homes. A dust cloud is expected to dissipate about 30 minutes after the implosion.

Officials said they've demolished and removed the interior of the building so all that remains is a shell of the roof, the steel trusses, and some concrete.

City officials said the site of the arena will become the Creative Village: a 68-acre mixed-use, transit-oriented, urban infill neighborhood that will be home to leading higher education providers; high-tech, digital media and creative companies; and a diverse mix of students, employees and residents.

The Creative Village, a 10-year, $1 billion project, will consist of nearly 1,000,000 square feet of office/creative space, about 500,000 square feet of higher education space, 25,000 square feet of K-12 education space, about 1,500 residential units, 150,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and about 200 hotel rooms.

Several roads were shut down around the arena more than two hours before the implosion and remain closed for clean-up afterward.

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