The state has issued its red line for Frankfort’s Capital Plaza Tower.
When the 28-story, 330-foot tower comes down in a controlled implosion on March 11, the general public will be barred from entering a so-called “exclusion zone.”
According to a preliminary drawing released Tuesday, that zone, delineated in red ink, encloses the area west of Lewis Street, north of Clinton Street, east of Riverview Trail and a large portion of Fort Hill south of the River View Park turnoff on Wilkinson Boulevard.
“Persons are not to be outside or on top of structures within the Exclusion Zone during the implosion, to facilitate security surrounding the demolition site and to ensure that persons are not exposed to air overpressure (noise) levels above the 140 dBL impact guidelines under OSHA regulations,” a note on the drawing by demolition subcontractor CDI says.
Lexington developer-contractor team CRM/D.W. Wilburn began work on Capital Plaza redevelopment last month when they won a so-called “built-to-suit” contract from the state. In a built-to-suit project, a private firm receives annual lease payments from the state for designing, building, financing and operating a building until the state buys back the property.
In exchange for leveling the area and building a replacement state office building, CRM/D.W. Wilburn will receive annual lease payments from the state of $7.3 million for 30 years starting in 2020. The team constructed and operates the state office building at 300 Sower Blvd. under a similar agreement.
Frankfort-Franklin County Office of Emergency Management Director Tom Russell told members of the Capital Development Committee on Wednesday that he was still crafting a plan for the implosion spectacle, but he likened it to preparing for the Capital Expo Festival’s fireworks displays.
Included in Russell’s plan will be designated viewing areas for the general public as well as VIPs. With the soon-to-be-demolished Frankfort Convention Center no longer obstructing the view, the grounds of the Old Capitol may be the ideal setting, Russell suggested.
In response to a question about the implosion’s impact on the foundations of nearby historic buildings, Russell told Jill Robinson, the general public’s representative on the committee, that the implosion would be a “relatively low seismic event” — hardly enough to register on the scale his agency monitors.
Closer to the implosion — squarely in the preliminary exclusion zone — is the Capital Plaza Hotel, which will remain open during the implosion, Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary William Landrum said Tuesday.
Landrum, however, emphasized the importance of safety during the demolition. The retired Army colonel and former acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army for financial operations knows firsthand the danger of falling debris.
“I was there when the plane hit the Pentagon,” Landrum told The State Journal. “I was 75 yards away and I can tell you when something like that happens, there’s a lot of dust, a lot of debris, a lot of metal, a lot of fire and a lot of dead people, too. So things like this, safety is first and foremost. That’s my main concern and we will send out articles to educate the public.”
A news release jointly issued by the Finance and Transportation Cabinets earlier in January said the section of Clinton Street between Wilkinson Boulevard and St. Clair Street would close last Tuesday. In fact, that closure won’t occur until later this week, Landrum said. That road will remain closed for six to eight weeks. Afterward, the section of Mero Street between Wilkinson Boulevard and St. Clair Street will close for about 12 months.