Hendryx Street was alive with the sound of crunching metal and snapping timbers as a demolition crew set to work tearing down the old Extra Foods building on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re at the demolition phase,” said Deirdrie Lang, general manager of the Nelson Commons project. “We’re taking it down a little slower than we would otherwise, though, because we’re hoping to repurpose the glulam beams. They’re very useful and expensive, and they’ve been holding up the roof since 1966.”
She said the beams have character, and could be used to support an outer awning area, which will be used as an arcade.
“The building hasn’t been in use since 2012, so we’ve done all the gas and hydro, getting everything decommissioned,” she said. “Now it’s just one thing after another.”
Nelson Commons plans to release a detailed timeline for the project within the next couple of weeks.
During the day the crew discovered an air conditioning unit they hadn’t realized was there, and had to remove it before continuing with the destruction. Otherwise everything was going according to plan.
The crews will also be required to tear down one wall by hand, as it connects to the New China Restaurant on Vernon Street and they could risk damaging the neighbouring property with their machinery.
The entire demolition process is slated to take approximately two weeks, which will be followed by excavation. Kootenay Co-op has now set up a webcam at nelsoncommons.ca so that interested parties who would like to follow the construction have the chance.
“Some of our buyers are out of town, and they want to see what’s going on. And we want to see what’s going on, of course,” said Lang.
Dave Harasym of DHC Communication said the webcam was installed on the roof of Nelson Chrysler, and is storing a saved photo every day for the duration of the project. Visitors to the website will be able to see a new photo every five minutes between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“Once the project is completed we’re going to assemble a time lapse, so you’ll be able to watch the old building come down and the new one go up in a span of a few minutes,” said Harasym.
The webcam is similar to the one DHC installed at the top of the Glory Ridge Chair at Whitewater Ski Resort.
Lang said they’ve pre-sold 36 of the units at Nelson Commons, with 18 remaining for sale. All the units will be available in the summer of 2016.
The next stage of construction will involve excavating the space that will ultimately become underground parking and the foundation of the building.