CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The South Bay Power Plant imploded Saturday morning to clear the way for development along Chula Vista’s Bayfront.
Nearly 300 pounds of dynamite was ignited around 7 a.m. Saturday and caused the structure to collapse inward.
“I didn’t think so many people would be here this morning, my God,” San Diego resident Pete Gonzales said.
Thousands of people woke up early to witness the theatrics with cameras, cell phones and binoculars.
“Boom, boom, boom… it was so cool,” one witness said with excitement.
“Your heart was booming with it!” another spectator said.
It took about two minutes for the smoke to clear.
The plant was built in the late 1950s and first began producing energy in 1960, according to port officials. However, it has long been an eyesore along the city’s otherwise picturesque shoreline.
The facility was shut down at the end of 2010. Since then, work crews have removed asbestos, disconnected electrical lines and taken out fuel.
The agency said a 24-acre public park is slated for the land, along with a recreational vehicle park, an industrial development and 25 acres of open space.
”After the years of hard work that went into the approval of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, the plant’s removal will kick start redevelopment plans as we look forward to further progress on what will become a world-class destination for the entire region,” Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said.
The implosion was arranged by the plant’s former operator, Dynegy South Bay LLC.
Port officials said heavy equipment will break up the resulting wreckage, which could include about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which will be recycled and salvaged, where feasible.