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Albany hotel dating to 1920s demolished to make way for $66 million convention centre

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ALBANY, N.Y. - An 11-story hotel dating to the 1920s was demolished Saturday to make way for a new $66 million convention centre in New York's capital.

Fireworks exploded and crowds cheered as the Wellington Hotel Annex disappeared into a cloud of beige dust.

Some people positioned cameras on tripods to capture the demise of the annex, which had stood near the state capitol for nine decades but was vacant in recent years.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan was among the spectators posing for pictures with the building — from a safe distance — before it was reduced to rubble.

"That was really an amazing thing to see," Sheehan told the Albany Times Union. "To see so many people come out and witness history in the making and history in the coming, it's really a wonderful thing."

The implosion was postponed from Thursday to limit traffic disruptions.

Streets near the demolition site were closed for several hours. Street sweepers lined up along a nearby street to clear away dust and debris.

The 80,000-square-foot convention centre, dubbed the Albany Capital Center, has been in the planning stages for two decades. Developers say it will be connected by a pedestrian walkway to two other hotspots: the Empire State Plaza and the Times Union Center, a popular sports and concert venue.

"This is a new chapter in Albany's economic future, and the implosion was impeccably timed," state Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy told the newspaper.

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