UPDATE: The OB 29 has resumed its regular route through the area of Beverly and Holloway. https://t.co/h7vf1DxYJX (More: 10 in last 48 hours)

Pagoda Palace Demolition 7/11/13

Photo of Pagoda theater
The Central Subway tunnel will end at this site in North Beach, now home to the old Pagoda Palace Theater. Pagoda Palace Demolition

Powell Street from Union to Columbus

Since last summer, the SFMTA has worked closely with the North Beach community and multiple city agencies to relocate the retrieval site of the Central Subway's tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from its original site on Columbus Avenue. After a series of community meetings and based on feedback from the community, the TBMs will now be retrieved at 1731-1741 Powell Street, known as the Pagoda Palace.

The first phase of construction at this site is the demolition of the Pagoda Palace. We expect this activity to take approximately four weeks to complete, including mobilization and site clean-up.

The building will be demolished using specialized equipment called a nibbler and crusher. This equipment is like a scissor that cuts the building into small pieces of rubble. Working from the sidewalk and parking lane in front of the Pagoda Palace, the contractor will take down the facade of the building, starting with the tallest point. Once there is enough clearance, the contractor will move inside the property line and complete the demolition from within.

After demolishing the building, we will construct a retrieval shaft within the property lines at 1731-1741 Powell Street. The retrieval shaft is an excavation of about 45 ft. by 49 ft., with a depth of approximately 42 ft. We will provide additional details about retrieval shaft construction before it begins.

The SFMTA is working closely with local contractor MH Construction to minimize construction impacts as much as possible while demolition is underway. For more information, check out this fact sheet. Construction details are below. 

Planned construction (all dates approximate):


  • Disconnect utilities within building (week of July 8)
  • Set up pedestrian detour (week of July 15)
  • Mobilize demolition equipment (week of July 15)
  • Demolish building (approx. July 15-26)
  • Remove demolished building pieces (week of July 29)
  • Grade the site (week of July 29)
  • Construction hours will be Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Demolition takes approximately two weeks to complete, with two additional weeks required to prepare the site, remove the building pieces and grade the lot.

Traffic, transit and pedestrian impacts:



  • Area of impact: Powell Street and Columbus Avenue between Filbert and Union streets
  • The sidewalk in front of 1731-1741 Powell Street will be impacted
  • The Muni 39 Coit may be temporarily rerouted, but no stops will be impacted (see fact sheet for details)
  • Parking restrictions will be in effect in front of the Pagoda Palace on Powell Street and Columbus Avenue
  • Powell Street between Union and Columbus will remain open to traffic, but the traffic lane may be narrowed
  • The contractor will maintain access to adjacent businesses and facilitate the flow of traffic during work hours
  • Dust will be monitored and controlled, and noise will be kept within required decibel levels (see fact sheet for details)

We will provide additional updates via email and on our blog as work proceeds. Should you have any questions, please contact North Beach liaison Andrea Baker at 415.351.8427.

Thank you for your patience and support.

-The Central Subway Team


Central Subway Construction Fast Facts

Project Alignment: 4th Street between Berry and Market streets; Stockton Street between Market Street and Columbus Avenue; Powell Street between Union Street and Columbus Avenue; Columbus Avenue between Powell and Filbert streets.

Transit Reroutes: The southbound 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express, 30 Stockton, 45 Union/Stockton and 91 Owl Muni bus routes have been rerouted to accommodate construction in Union Square and SoMa. These reroutes will remain in effect throughout the duration of Central Subway construction. More information is available online here.

Contact Us: Should you have questions about construction or the Central Subway Project, don't hesitate to contact our team. You can reach us at central.subway@sfmta.com or by phone at 415-701-4371.

For More Information: The Central Subway team posts frequent project updates on a variety of social media outlets. To find out more about the project and construction progress, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Flickr, and check out our blog.

Construction schedules are subject to change.