Demolition of long-abandoned Gary hotel begins
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent July 26, 2014 6:02PM
The old Sheraton Hotel looms over the parking lot next to City Hall in Gary. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: August 28, 2014 6:39AM
GARY — A demolition crew took the first major step in tearing down a 30-year eyesore Saturday.
A skeleton crew from Michigan-based Homrich Inc. tore down the pedestrian walkway between the long abandoned Sheraton Hotel parking garage and the Hudson-Campbell Fitness Center in the 400 block of Massachusetts Street southeast of City Hall.
Gary’s Redevelopment Commission last year awarded Homrich a $1.77 million contract to demolish the hotel, parking lot and two pedestrian walkways, one over Broadway and the other over Massachusetts Street.
The hotel first opened as a Holiday Inn in 1968, closing four years later. It was remodeled and reopened in 1978 as a Sheraton Hotel, only to close seven years later.
The hulking, white structure, with broken windows and damage across each facade, is the main site visitors, workers and leaders in City Hall see out of the grand expanse of windows on the hall’s south side.
Three Homrich workers, wearing yellow safety vests, changed out several attachments to the large excavator shortly after they ripped into glass design elements and walls of the walkway over Massachusetts Street, with one block of the street closed to traffic.
By midafternoon, only a few concrete slabs, held together by steel rebar, remained attached to the fitness center, its windows protected by large sheets of plywood.
Piles of debris, mostly chunks of concrete and blue insulation, remained piled beneath the remainder of the bridge.
“We began at 3 (p.m.) today,” one worker shouted, as his colleagues worked to attach a pulverizer to the excavator. “We should be done by 8 (p.m.) We want to get this stuff out of here.”