By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –With a few wisps of brick dust followed by a shower of broken glass, the demolition of the Spectrum began Tuesday afternoon. The iconic South Philadelphia sports and entertainment venue is coming down to make way for a newer, glitzier construction project dubbed “Philly Live.”

It could take at least four months to clear the old building, and judging by the ineffectiveness of the first few swings of the wrecker’s ball (above), that estimate seems accurate.

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A couple of Philadelphia sports legends spoke at the farewell ceremonies, including Julius “Dr. J” Erving (right), the 76ers forward during the late ’70s and early ’80s; longtime Flyers team captain Bobby Clarke; and Comcast-Spectacor Ed Snider, who indicated just before the demolition started that he didn’t want to watch.

Construction is due to begin next April on the scaled back ‘Philly Live’ project. Rather than the 350,000-square-foot, $100-million, sprawling entertainment district, phase one includes about 40,000 square feet of construction. One critic said that’s about the size of a typical strip mall.

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Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development, says in a soft economy like this, it is very common for developers to build out projects slowly.

Greenberger says, “To basically get their flag planted on the appropriate corner and to show some early success, which will hopefully lead to further success and build out the rest of the project.”

The developer, Baltimore-based Cordish Company, says they are still working on the exact concept of the space. But they say it will include retail, dining, and entertainment venues, including a sports bar near 11th Street and Pattison Avenue.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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