After a few loud blasts, it only took a few seconds for the 10-story landmark Macy's building on Main Street to be reduced to rubble Sunday morning.
"Just pure nostalgia," spectator Vincent McCracken said. "I'm absolutely a little saddened by the fact that the Macy's is disappearing. Just one of those buildings that had been around for so long."
A small fire broke out during the demolition Sunday morning. A contractor told Eyewitness News the unexpected flames were triggered by some asphalt on the building's roof and the situation was quickly handled. In addition to blocking off streets, city crews also covered drains across a nine-square-block area due to the intense dust. Crews told us they expected to have the immediate area cleaned up by Monday morning.
As dust from the demolition spread across downtown, hundreds of people watched. Many reminisced over how the old Macy's building opened up as Foley's back in 1947, and how the former department store's decorative holiday windows attracted families over the years, among other things.
Edward Griffin's company owns and manages buildings nearby. He remembers visiting Foley's as a little boy.
"You know, it's funny. What I remember most is the escalators in the center of the building," he said. "And you could go up and up and up forever on the escalators, and I thought, 'Gosh, you could just keep on going forever.' So, it's funny what you remember as a kid: the escalators."
The building had a rich history and was a marvel right from the beginning.
When it opened in 1947 to a crowd of 200,000 people, Newsweek called the building "the most radical and practical store in America."
In 1961, Foley's opened its first branch store in Sharpstown Mall. In 2006, the Foley's sign was removed and all stores were rebranded as Macy's. Then, in January, the company announced the store would close. More than a dozen other Houston-area Macy's locations were not affected.
With the downtown Macy's now a memory, you may be wondering what's next for that prime piece of real estate.
A new office building with retail space on the first floor is expected to be built on the site. There is no word on when the build will be completed. City leaders are hoping this centrally-located site will become part of a Dallas Street Retail Corridor downtown. After months of meetings and studies, the Downtown Retail Task Force announced an ambitious plan this week to turn Dallas Street between Milam and La Branch into a shopping corridor.
"It's a little bittersweet for me," implosion spectator Blake Whitfield said. "It's a little bit of nostalgia, but Houston's growing. Houston's changing and things don't always stay the same, so sometimes it's time for something better."
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