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13-story historic ex-hotel is imploded in Detroit as part of hockey arena construction project @NHLdotcom

DETROIT - A 13-story historic former hotel that stood for 90 years in Detroit was reduced to rubble in less than a minute on Saturday.

It took about 15 seconds for the one-time Park Avenue Hotel to come crashing down after the first of the charges could be heard going off. Officials said 200 pounds of dynamite were used to bring down the structure, which was built in the 1920s.

The implosion was part of Olympia Development's ongoing construction project that will bring a new hockey arena and entertainment district to an area north of downtown. The $450 million, 20,000-seat arena is expected to open in 2017. The NHL's Red Wings now play at Joe Louis Arena, which has been around since 1979.

Imploding the building "helps us, because it allows us to take it down in one time and not have to have this be a very prolonged (process) and affect the neighbours and everyone else," said Sean Hollister, senior project manager with general contractor Barton Malow-Hunt-White.

People gathered on the tops of nearby parking garages and high-rises to catch a glimpse of the implosion, which produced a sizable dust cloud that advanced toward some of the onlookers.

Hollister said crews will wash the windows of nearby homes and businesses, and trucks are at the ready to clean area streets. It will take weeks to clear away all the debris from the implosion, he said.

The Detroit Historic District Commission voted last month to raze the vacant ex-hotel.

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