National/World

Macy's implosion: Downtown Houston store building reduced to rubble

Sunday, September 22, 2013
The old Foleys/Macys building in downtown Houston comes down in seconds during an implosion on Sunday, September 22, 2013 The old Foleys/Macys building in downtown Houston comes down in seconds during an implosion on Sunday, September 22, 2013

The old Macy's building on Main Street was reduced to rubble in downtown Houston.

The implosion was scheduled for 7:20 a.m. It began late, but the building went down in a cloud of dust within seconds.

Fire officials encourage Houstonians to stay away from the site at Main and Dallas this morning. Blocks surrounding the building remain closed. METRO rail and bus service has also been altered to take the implosion into account, so patrons are asked to remain patient and allow for extra travel time.

The 10-story building, which originally opened as a Foley's department store in 1947, came down as planned -- cleanly, without scattering debris. There were some fires at the site, but Houston Fire Department officials tells us they were not a problem.

The demolition company is now responsible for cleaning up the mess from the dust.

"They will come and wash all the windows from the anticipated dust," Houston Police Department Chief Charles McLelland said.

The downtown Macy's building had a rich history and was a marvel right from the beginning.

When it opened as a Foley's in 1947 to a crowd of 200,000 people, Newsweek called the building "the most radical and practical store in America."

In 1961, Foley's opened its first branch store in Sharpstown Mall. In 2006, the Foley's sign was removed and all stores were rebranded as Macy's. Then, in January, the company announced the store would close. More than a dozen other Houston-area Macy's locations were not affected.

With the downtown Macy's now a memory, you may be wondering what's next for that prime piece of real estate.

After months of meetings and studies, the Downtown Retail Task Force announced an ambitious plan this week to turn Dallas Street between Milam and La Branch into a shopping corridor.

"Great idea, because I stay right here close to downtown," Queen Ishia, who works in downtown Houston, said of the plan. "So that would be great for me, because I love to shop."

While Downtown District officials plan to offer tax incentives to entice developers, business owners say it's difficult to build downtown because there just aren't enough people.

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