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Published September 07, 2010, 06:15 PM

53-Year-Old Civic Auditorium Gone After First Day of Demolition

Demolition on the Civic Auditorium in downtown Grand Forks began today, less than two weeks after The City sold the building to a developer who plans on turning into a residential and retail complex.

By: Brady Mallory, WDAZ

Demolition on the Civic Auditorium in downtown Grand Forks began today, less than two weeks after The City sold the building to a developer who plans on turning into a residential and retail complex.

"The roof was pretty much wood-beamed..it came apart pretty easy," said Craig Tweten point out the big, sturdy wooden beams that provided the skeleton for the building.

Far from being tossed aside, the beams are getting a new use.

"They're going to be using them for an art structure at the corner here," said Tweten, President of Community Contractors.

The Civic Auditorium in downtown Grand Forks was once a National Guard Armory and played host to music and theatre, community meetings and craft shows. 53 years later, it is coming down quickly and easily.

"Concrete materials, masonary materials, wood materials, steel materials..all have to be taken to different dumps," Tweten said, citing the more difficult tasks of the project.

"The hard work is on the concrete because there is a lot of concrete. The hauling takes a long time," Kevin Ritterman, President of Dakota Commercial and Development Company, said.

According to Ritterman, The City of Grand Forks had been trying for nine years to lease the empty building. His company acquired the building August 30th.

" We were selected as the firm to move forward with the project. We're developing it as 7,500 sq feet of commercial with four stories of apartments."

By next Fall, the new building along with underground parking will be up. Three backhoes, a few construction workers and $6.3 million later, Tweten said tearing down the building in less than a month is not a problem.

" Taking it down is probably the easiest part. It's a great day to work, cool temperatures. Yeah, for the workers, it's a great day to work."

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