Contractors get Fay Street Warehouse ready for implosion

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) - Contractors spent Tuesday "wrapping" Utica's Fay Street Warehouse in preparation of Sunday's early-morning implosion. 

A total of 88 pillars inside the building are wrapped in black fabric. Openings in the geo-textile fabric will allow contractors to slide 500 pounds of dynamite into the fabric. Cables on the building's east side hug the outside walls, with the intention of pulling the collapsing structure to the west and away from the arterial. Even though at its closest point, the southbound lane is only seven feet from the warehouse, contractors and New York Department of Transportation officials are confident no debris will fall on the roadway.

"What we're hoping to happen here is that once the building is imploded, that it's going to actually fall away from the arterial, to the west and just lay a little bit over onto Fay Street here," says James Piccola, a public information officer with the DOT.  Piccola says the explosives are being placed strategically to ensure the building falls where planned.

People living within 500 feet of the warehouse are being evacuated.  Several neighbors say the DOT is putting them up at the Hotel Utica on Saturday night if they so chose.

"They're always coming by, letting us know what's going on, asking us if we have any questions, giving us numbers -- a way to contact them," says Adrienne Zito, who works and occasionally sleeps nearby. 

"Apparently what they are going to do, they put like a big Mack truck like across the road and they put a tarp over our building, some sort of tarp to protect the windows," says Zito.

Sunday at 7 a.m., the winner of a local media promotion will push the lever, and after six months of preparation, the entire building will crumble to the ground in 13-20 seconds.

"For years, it's just been a monument here, you know, you go up and down the arterial and you see the Fay Street Warehouse and after Sunday that's not going to be there anymore," Piccola said. "But it's making way for a new and improved arterial, and I think everybody's going to be very excited about it."

The implosion contractor will fence in the area and fallen debris. The next contract goes out to bid March 20. That contractor will dispose of the debris.

The expected completion date for the north-south arterial project is 2016.

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