In the south of Tampa, there stands a luxury hotel named the Epicurean. It sits right on South Howard Boulevard, commonly known as Soho and famed (at least locally) for its collision of new and trendy coffee shops with old, uniquely Tampa architecture. The area is booming. This historic section of town is being rapidly revitalized, and the Epicurean wants to be a part of that mission.
South Howard Revitalization Requires Demolition
As part of that mission of revitalization, they have purchased a dilapidated pair of small apartment buildings from the mid 20th century. These buildings carry an immense amount of the history and culture of Tampa in their bones, but they have been worn down by decades of humid Florida weather, shoddy repairs and continuous use. And as the wave of urbanization and redevelopment sweeps further south, they were in danger of being lost to time. But now they have a second lease on life.
AAA Service Company was hired to begin the demolition and renovation process on behalf of the Epicurean. We were given a simple task: strip away the messy, patchy repairs and updates of the past half century, while preserving the bones of the building and the unique history. In short, we were to execute an almost complete interior demolition, paired with some minor exterior demolition of small structures like the garage and carport.
The first day of interior demolition
You would be amazed to see what people leave behind. A big task at the beginning of any job is the simple removal of peoples former belongings. Refrigerators, mattresses, speaker systems, condoms, bottles of vodka; we have seen it all, and we saw a whole lot of it here. While half of our crew worked to extract appliances in large pieces of furniture from the apartments, the other half begin the demolition. Shelves, cabinets, and minor walls all had to come down.
By day two, it was Time to knock down the plaster walls. While one worker smashed the plaster, another followed a few feet behind him, pulling up the wood slats that were left behind. All of this was thrown to the floor, where a third worker separated wood from plaster, ensuring maximum recycle ability. The demolition crew moved quickly from room to room, leaving only studs in their wake.
Cutting the Roof, Removing the Back
On the roof, preparations were made for the heavy machinery crew and their imminent exterior demolition. A portion of the building had been added much later in its life, and our next task after stripping the interior would be to demolish this section of the building entirely. However, the good portion of the building and the doomed portion shared one continuous roof. They had to be separated by hand, so that the machinery could easily pull them apart without damaging the portion of building that we intended to keep.
Meanwhile, work continued inside. Walls fell and doors disappeared. Windows followed shortly behind them, and then the floors. Workers painstakingly pulled up every board and every nail as they removed the floor, one room at a time. And then the same on the walls – nail by nail, room by room, they cleared the two apartment buildings. The ceiling came down, too – bringing with it an avalanche of messy old insulation that had to be swept down the stairs and out of the exposed back of the building.
In the end, the results are truly surprising. While you could be forgiven for not noticing a change to the building from the street, a trip around the back reveals the skeleton of the building, exposed to the world and ready for the next phase of its life. After weeks of hard work from our commercial demolition crews, these buildings have been fully and completely gutted. However, they still retain the historic construction style that makes them noteworthy. The Epicurean is excited to modernize these twin buildings, and to re-imagine classic Floridian architecture for the modern eye. We can’t wait to see the finished product.
If you or someone you know needs a hand with complex commercial or residential demolition projects, please give us a call or send us an email. We have the skill, expertise, and equipment to demolish any floor, wall, ceiling, or building with grace and precision. You can trust that you are in good hands when you go with AAA.