Crowds Watch the South Bay Power Plant Implosion

The defunct South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista was demolished by a series of blasts

The defunct South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista was demolished by a series of blasts early Saturday.

Thousands of people lined the waterfront in the South Bay to watch the defunct power plant disappear from the skyline.

Watch implosion raw video

The 556-acre land-use plan will add parks, open space and habitat protection in place power plant. The four phases of the construction plan will spread over 24 years.

The implosion went off just a few minutes after the scheduled 7 a.m. implosion.

Winds carried the smoke and debris west over the bay and away from the community of Chula VIsta. 

Watch aftermath video

Explosives were planted along the base of the plant. Once the smoke cleared, crowds could still see the top of one of the plant's smokestacks.

Calls into NBC 7's newsroom were from as far away as the East County and Tijuana describing the blast. Many callers believed it was an earthquake - unaware of the planned demolition along the coast.

The California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan in August 2012 making way for Saturday's implosion.

By 2016, port officials expect to begin building a resort conference center, public parks, a new fire station, an RV park and a mixed-use residential development.

Learn more about project plans

According to the Port of San Diego, the project is expected to generate approximately 21,000 tons of recyclable metals, including iron, steel, aluminum and copper. It may also generate 3,400 tons of non-hazardous waste including wood or plastic, which will be recycled.

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