'Leaning Tower of Dallas' Demolition Continues

Feb 25, 2020

Demolition of the former Affiliated Computer Services building dubbed the "Leaning Tower of Dallas" began Monday, drawing in dozens of Dallasites who flocked to watch the building come down. 

The Dallas Morning News reports Loyd D. Nabors Demolition, who's handling the project, said Monday afternoon it will take three to four days to take the building down completely. 

ABC affiliate WFAA has livestream video of the demolition. 

Monday, people started gathering early to watch the demolition, despite the chilly, windy weather. Adults, kids, babies and dogs alike spread out across the grassy field in front of the tower with chairs and blankets before the wrecking ball started its work. Some launched drones into the air to get a birds-eye view, while an artist could be seen painting the leaning tower in its final moments of glory. Other viewers watched from high on top of a nearby parking garage.

An artist painting the "Leaning Tower of Dallas" shortly before demolition began Monday morning.
Credit Elizabeth Myong / KERA News

While most of the crowd was excited for the demolition, 2-year-old James was distraught to see the building being destroyed. 

“No! No!” he yelled out each time the wrecking ball took another swing at the leaning tower. Cradled in his dad’s arms, his cries following each rumble. 

“It’s okay. The building doesn’t feel any pain, bud. It’s not hurting anyone,” his dad Jason assured him. 

James looks at the leaning tower from his dad's shoulders before demolition begins.
Credit Elizabeth Myong / KERA News

Ashley Alpert brought her young son Ruben to watch the demolition. They sat on the grass with snacks of grapes and almonds, looking up at the sky to watch, as pieces of the building fell down. 

“His favorite pastime is to watch construction and I thought this was the ultimate construction site,” she said. “It’s something unique and that doesn’t happen a lot. We’re really excited.” 

Alpert said she’s even looking forward to coming back later with a group of friends to camp out and play some games.

Ashley Alpert and her young son Ruben watching the demolition.
Credit Elizabeth Myong / KERA News

But the demolition itself was underwhelming for some viewers at the site and on social media who complained the teardown effort was a flop. 

Friends Vanessa Ayoub, Stacy Simon and Adrena Lugo came out to watch the demolition process, but said the event turned out to be “anti-climactic.” 

“Why is the ball not bigger? Why aren’t they hitting lower? And why are they hitting it on the side?” they said with a laugh. “We’re not engineers but it doesn’t make sense. It seems like they would have a process with this, especially with the first time not going as planned.” 

Alexis Moody works in residential construction. She said she lives nearby and woke up to watch the demolition with her husband, but she was surprised by how slow the process was going.

“Normally you try and tear down pretty quickly just because of labor costs,” she said. “It’s probably not good for the company either.” 

At the end of the day Monday, the leaning tower was still standing — the most noticeable difference being the smashed top layer of the building. 

On social media, the slow-moving wrecking ball was the brunt of numerous jokes as the hashtag #LeaningTowerOfDallas was trending in Texas.

The 11-story building at 2828 North Haskell Ave. went viral after an implosion attempt last week failed to demolish the center of the building containing the elevator shafts and stairs.

In the days since, the half-wrecked site has been a tourist attraction, with visitors snapping selfies and artists being inspired to create a painting and a Lego replica. There was even a petition to preserve the ruin by making it a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The building is being torn down to make way for The Central, a $2.5 billion development slated to include upscale apartments, retail, restaurants, a hotel and a park. 

KERA's Gabrielle Jones and Rebekah Morr contributed to this report. 

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