Implosion date set for Dominion Energy tower downtown

The new building at 600 Canal Place (right) was completed last year. (Photos by Michael Schwartz)

While the economy craters at the hands of a microscopic force, a different, more visible sort of implosion is set to take place May 30 on a particular block of downtown Richmond.

That’s the date that’s been set for the implosion of Dominion Energy’s One James River Plaza office tower at 701 E. Cary St.

Dominion spokesman Ryan Frazier confirmed the date, adding that the company has notified the city and its neighbors within the expected perimeter “exclusion zone.”

Dominion Energy’s One James River Plaza office is set for implosion towards the end of May.

“We’re still finalizing the exclusion zone, but visualize a full block in any direction,” Frazier said in an email this week.

Razing the 21-story, 1970s-era building is made possible by the completion last year of 600 Canal Place, the company’s glassy 20-story, 1-million-square-foot tower at 600 E. Canal St.

It is now occupied by more than 1,000 Dominion employees, including some that had worked in One James.

Frazier did not name the company that’s handling the implosion.

Demolition and implosion-prep work already has begun around the base of the 21-story, 1970s-era building.

Construction companies Hourigan and Clayco – the two companies that built 600 Canal – and D.H. Griffin are managing the current demolition process and the cleanup that will follow once the tower comes down.

Dominion still won’t say what will become of the site once the building is toppled.

The company previously announced and filed plans with the city for a second tower, dubbed 700 Canal Place, with a design that would mirror 600 Canal, albeit slightly shorter. It would rise 17 stories and hold more than 900,000 square feet. The two towers would be connected via a sky bridge over South Seventh Street.

Plans show Hourigan and Clayco as the general contractors for the second tower. Houston-based architecture firm Kendall/Heaton Associates has been selected as the architect of record, and the Timmons Group is the civil engineer, plans show.

A close-up of the forthcoming demolition site.

The process of demolition and subsequent cleanup would take about a year. Should the company then decide to build anew onsite, Frazier previously said that new tower would be expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

But for now, while onlookers wonder whether social distancing might prevent implosion watch parties come May, Frazier said Dominion still is evaluating a potential second tower.

“We are still assessing our downtown workplace needs,” he said.

A rendering of the two towers, showing the now-completed 600 Canal Place to the left and the potential second tower to the right. (BizSense file photo)

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Jim NalgrinMatt FarisFred SquireDavid Humphrey Recent comment authors
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David Humphrey
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David Humphrey

Too bad they can’t get it done now while most are gone from downtown.

Fred Squire
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If we follow the same timeline as China, there won’t be many people downtown in May still

Jim Nalgrin
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Jim Nalgrin

Somebody somewhere along in the decision making process should have done their homework. Implosions are illegal. They violate the Federal NESHAP regulations for Fugitive Particulates aka “Dust”. The dust cloud is composed of mainly respirable silica and traces of heavy metals. this stuff doesn’t go away. It just blows around and around. Sure , they make a little show of running street sweepers up and down the day of the blast but what happens to all the dust on the roofs of adjacent buildings and the streets outside of the exclusion zone. It rains down on the unsuspecting for weeks… Read more »

Matt Faris
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Matt Faris

First, planned implosions are nowhere close to what happened on 9/11. Hazardous materials are removed and dust control is applied to a minimum standard. While it may not totally eliminate n dust, it does help. 9/11 saw collapse of buildings (plural) far bigger, and enough fire to collapse the buildings and everything with it, including thousands or people. To compare these two events is illogical, and suggests your opinion isn’t based on facts. NESHAP in fact REQUIRES the REMOVAL of Asbestos. and other hazardous material. OSHA also has a long list of requirements to protect workers on such a project.

Jim Nalgrin
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Jim Nalgrin

I never said they were. Federal NESHAP regulations prohibit any kind of corrosive dust from leaving the job site. It’s nasty stuff. I didn’t say anything about asbestos. The respirable silica is produced as the building collapses. Just what do you think is in the dust cloud produced by an implosion. Unicorn glitter fart dust? I never mentioned the workers. They have OSHA required PPE equipment. I’m talking about the dangers to John Q Public as the toxic dust rains down on them for weeks and months from the roofs of the buildings after the implosion. Respirable silica doesn’t go… Read more »

Jim Nalgrin
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Jim Nalgrin

It’s the whole reason the implosion of Candlestick Park was nixed. The Air Quality people did a detailed study of the risks of exposure to the the respirable silica produced by the implosion to the adjacent neighborhoods.

https://48hills.org/2015/01/kaboom-the-plan-to-blow-up-candlestick/

Jim Nalgrin
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Jim Nalgrin

Why is the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality even allowing this to happen? It wasn’t that long ago when they had to investigate the thousands of fish that were killed after being exposed to the dust form the implosion of U Hall at the University of Virginia. That dust cloud was tiny in comparison to the toxic cloud that is going to be produced by this implosion. If it killed that many fish what’s it going to do to people lungs? Especially during the pandemic…. Somebody isn’t thinking here.

https://www.starexponent.com/news/runoff-from-uva-s-u-hall-demolition-site-killed-hundreds/article_b68c95d0-992c-5ece-ac2a-9570272b2d64.html

Matt Faris
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Matt Faris

The article you linked said, “Investigators from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, with assistance from staff members at UVA and the city of Charlottesville, determined a pit at the site filled with rainwater and was pumped into a storm drain, killing the fish that were found floating downstream at Meadow Creek Gardens Park.”

Apparently the fish kill (hundreds per the link, not thousands) was due to contractor error by pumping the basin into the storm system.

I’m just citing facts gleaned from your source.

Jim Nalgrin
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Jim Nalgrin

What killed the fish? The corrosive nature of the concrete dust. The same stuff people are going to be breathing for months as it blows downtown Couple that with the Corona Virus that preys on people with respiratory problems it’s like watching the Titanic hit the iceberg…in slow motion.

Matt Faris
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Matt Faris

Based on the article, I would suggest that the trap that is designed to collect the dust and sediment in the runoff was pumped into the storm system as opposed to pumped into an adequate containment system. Motor oil is collected and disposed, but if it was umped into a storm system it would also kill the fish. This resulted in far greater concentrations than would normally become airborne with the required (and successfully carried out) measures. Also , just an FYI, there have been imploded buildings the past 2 years of approximately 20 stories in the US. Perhaps there… Read more »

Jim Nalgrin
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Jim Nalgrin

It kind of sends up a red Flag when they didn’t tell the name of the contractor responsible for the implosion. Is it the “Leaning Tower of Dallas” contractor or the contractor that wiped out half of downtown Jacksonville or the contractor that cut off a spectator’s leg or the contractor who bungle the tower cranes at the Hard rock Hotel in New Orleans…