Demolition crews started tearing apart San Francisco's iconic Candlestick Park stadium this week to pave the way for a new development project.
The stadium, which first opened in 1960 and once housed both the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers, will take time to demolish. According to Steve Rubenstein of SFGate, the chosen method of dismantling the structure will involve the use of mechanical dinosaurs.
"We've gravitated away from wrecking balls," site manager Jermaine Smith. "You see those in movies. This is precise demolition. You don't do that with wrecking balls."
Rubenstein noted that the wreckers paused briefly around noon on Wednesday to celebrate the end of the easy part of the stadium's demolition.
"It's a little trickier than wrecking a building," head wrecker Larry Thomas of Silverado Contractors, the company hired to perform the demolition, said.
According to CBS San Francisco, the decision was made to tear down the stadium as opposed to blowing it up with an explosion. That's because neighbors living near Candlestick Park expressed concerns that an implosion could unleash "a toxic cloud" on them.
"A project spokesman said crews would tear down the ramps to the upper deck and then begin demolition of the stadium's upper deck," CBS San Francisco wrote.
Like any other demolition project, destroying a structure the size of a stadium had its own challenges. Thomas elaborated on the dangers workers faced in both construction and destruction.
"When you build something, the main danger is falling," Thomas said. "When you wreck something, the main danger is something falling on you."
Rubenstein described the eeriness of the giant task at hand.
"Workers wear orange and black, but they're safety vests instead of Giants jerseys," Rubenstein wrote. "Fragments of huge billboards ring the grandstands, their messages half lost, never to return. A fast-food billboard urges fans to visit 'Jack In The,' and the remains of the KNBR billboard render the station's call letters 'KNPP.'"
However, the wreckers responsible for dismantling the stadium still found joy in their work.
"My workers love to wake up in the morning and come down here and do this," Thomas said.
Rubenstein added that the stadium's seats were piled around the site. The city of San Francisco tried to sell the "ugly orange plastic stadium seats" for $649 a pair to sports fans, but the venture was mostly unsuccessful.
"They will be ground up and recycled into whatever ugly orange stadium seats get recycled into," Rubenstein wrote.
CBS San Francisco reported that Candlestick Park will be replaced with a development project that will include a hotel, shopping center and residential units. The overall project, according to Rubenstein, will include an "urban outlet mall" that will cost around $200 million and is expected to open around 2017.
"San Francisco, which never had a place like Candlestick Park before, has never had an urban outlet mall," Rubenstein wrote. "As it did with the stadium, San Francisco is hoping for the best."