Aberdeen St Nicholas House demolition underway

St Nicholas House. Picture: Bill Harrison, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons (http://www.geograph.org.uk/reuse.php?id=849701)
St Nicholas House. Picture: Bill Harrison, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons (http://www.geograph.org.uk/reuse.php?id=849701)
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WORK began today on the final stages of the demolition of one of Aberdeen’s most notorious eyesores - the City Council’s former headquarters at St Nicholas House.

The 13-storey tower block, built in 1968, has lain empty since last year when the council moved to its new headquarters across the road in Broad Street to the refurbished Marischal College.

And it was revealed earlier this year that Manchester-based Muse Developments, one of Britain’s leading commercial and urban regeneration companies, has been chosen as the preferred bidder to transform the site into a new and vibrant civic square in the heart of the Granite City once the tower block is razed to the ground.

A city council spokeswoman today confirmed that the task of taking down the St Nicholas House tower is now underway.

She said: “Scaffolding is being erected around the chimney on top of the 1960s building. The chimney will be dismantled by hand, before machines are brought in to demolish the rest of the building.

“Demolition machinery will be hoisted up the side of the building and used to take the building down floor by floor during the critical phase of the demolition project.

“These remote-control demolition machines will be used to deconstruct St Nicholas House floor by floor, from the top down. Each floor will be propped, before the machines are used to demolish each level by ‘nibbling’ the concrete, and drop the material down the lift shaft in a controlled manner. Supporting columns will then be pulled down and the operation will move to the next floor.”

It is estimated it will take approximately two weeks to take down each floor.

Councillor Marie Boulton, the deputy council leader, said: “This is a historic moment for Aberdeen. Love it or loathe it, the St Nicholas House tower has been a prominent feature of the city’s skyline for almost 50 years. Over the coming weeks we will see it steadily reduced until nothing remains of the monolithic building.

“I am pleased to see the demolition project progressing so well and the site being cleared in readiness for an exciting new development and a new chapter in the city’s history.”

The prime site is to be redeveloped into a series of linked buildings, up to ten storeys high, offering a mix of hotel, offices, restaurants and retail space.