It took 10 seconds Sunday to turn 46 years of Frankfort history into rubble. With a few booms, Capital Plaza Tower fell to the ground, sending out a plume of dust that coated nearby trees and clearing the skyline of the once-tallest building in Frankfort.
“Seriously, how fun is this?” Gov. Matt Bevin asked the crowd of onlookers minutes before the implosion.
The 28-story, 330-foot tower had been recommended for demolition since 2008, when a Lexington-based architecture firm determined it would be more cost efficient to tear the building down and put a new one in its place.
Now, almost 10 years after that recommendation, the state and city are doing just that.
A new building is scheduled for construction in the footprint of the tower, one that will hold 1,500 state employees and re-purpose the marble from the tower in its lobby.
“Now is the time to reinvent, rediscover and redevelop downtown,” said Bill Landrum the secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
Crowds gathered throughout the city to see the implosion. Some brought lawn chairs and watched from the side of the road, others gathered outside the Transportation building.
Drones, including one piloted by State Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, buzzed around the building to capture its final minutes.
Earlier in the week, Bevin had auctioned off the right to push the plunger to destroy the building. The winning bid of $15,000, which is slated to go to Bevin’s charity to help foster children, came from A.J. Stivers of Shelby County.
The Capital Plaza Tower opened in 1972 and had a modernist architectural style. In recent years there had been reports of concrete falling from the tower and water leaking from the building.
When the tower was recommended for demolition in 2008, 1,000 employees worked in the building. While the 2010 General Assembly decided to do nothing with the building, Bevin put the tower up for sale in July 2016.
The tallest building in Frankfort is now the Kentucky State Capitol, at 210 feet.