Historic downtown Arcue Building demolished

94-year-old structure’s lot will be redeveloped, owners say.

SPRINGFIELD — A building that marked downtown Springfield’s skyline for nearly a century began to come down with little fanfare Thursday night.

The estimated 200 onlookers who turned out to watch the 94-year-old Arcue Building get the wrecking ball instead watched a claw take out a small portion of the building’s northwest corner at 8:03 p.m., about two hours later than expected.

Crane subcontractor Lowendick Contractors later used a wrecking ball to bring down larger portions of the building.

Danny McGhee and Bruce West, both employees of lead demolition company Tony Smith Wrecking, said it would be at least three days before the entire building was razed. It could take a couple of weeks to clear the debris.

McGhee said crews abated asbestos, abandoned filing cabinets and other materials from the building for several months in preparation for the demolition.

The 37,000-square-foot building at 6 W. High St. was deemed “not economically viable” for refurbishing by Midland Properties, which purchased the building in November.

Midland Properties President Tom Loftis said the building is structurally sound, but the cost to update the structure, which still has a manual elevator and lacks central heating and cooling systems, is not feasible.

Loftis said there are plans for redevelopment on the lot, but could not release details.

It was the first time in years a Springfield building was taken down in that manner, said Randy White, a code enforcement employee for the city of Springfield.

Fountain Avenue between Main and High streets and High Street between Fountain Avenue and Center Street closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and were expected to be closed again Friday and Monday, city officials said.

About 15 tenants who occupied businesses in the building were told in August they must vacate the building by Oct. 15.