South Bay Power Plant to be demolished next month

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The obsolete South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista is scheduled to be imploded next month to make way for public greenspace, as well as RV and industrial parks, the Port of San Diego announced Tuesday.

A number of small explosive charges will be placed within the structure to bring it down. The implosion is scheduled for Feb. 2 at 7 a.m., weather permitting, according to Tanya M. Castaneda, spokeswoman for the Port of San Diego. A final decision on whether to proceed will be made that morning, she said.

The 165-foot-tall plant has been on the bayfront since the late 1950s and was fully shut down at the end of 2010. The former plant operator, Dynegy South Bay LLC, will carry out the implosion plan.

“The removal of the South Bay Power Plant is a visual signal to the community of Chula Vista and the San Diego region that we are serious about bayfront redevelopment,” Board of Port Commissioners Chair Ann Moore said.

“I am thrilled that we have finally set a date to bring down this huge industrial structure,” she said. “I am even more pleased that we plan to replace it with a public park, as well as an RV park, that everyone will be able to enjoy.”

The actual implosion should take less than two minutes and sound like rolling thunder with reverberations. Details on a public viewing event will be released in coming weeks, Castaneda said.

The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which if possible, will be salvaged and also recycled, port officials said.

Castaneda said the demolition will fulfill the promise the Port of San Diego made 14 years ago when it acquired the plant with the intent to remove it, and the removal was an essential step toward redeveloping the former industrial land.

Plans for the power plant’s former site and surrounding areas included a 24-acre park, a 14-acre RV park, an industrial park on two parcels that total about 36 acres and a buffer zone around the western perimeter.

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