Crane operators remove top part of dilapidated Bayside Expo sign

The moment of lift-off and then lift-down, as the Bayside Expo Center is lowered to the ground on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Izzy Bryars photo

Crane workers removed the top of the Bayside Expo Center sign, a 41-year-old vestigial token of the long-demolished event hall, on Tuesday afternoon (April 11).

The workers spent the morning hours hooking a giant C.J. Shaughnessy crane to the top of the sign and using a blowtorch from a cherry-picker to weaken upper parts of the structure. After the sign, complete with red letters, was separated from the rest of the three-legged structure, the worker in the cherry-picker, yelled, “Yeah, baby!”

The University of Massachusetts owns the structure, as well as the site of the old Bayside Expo, which is on tap to be redeveloped into a multibillion, multi-building complex known as “Dorchester Bay City.”

The removal came almost a month after one of the sign’s metal panels, with marquee light bulbs, smashed into the parking lot below during a late-winter storm. The sign originally reached close to 100 feet.

The three legs of the sign remain on land owned by UMass, and on the parking lot, which is owned by the real estate company Corcoran Jennison. Two of the legs are in the parking lot, which serves an office building that includes the headquarters of the Massachusetts State Lottery and the Dorchester Reporter.


Above, the sign after it was lowered to the parking lot below. Seth Daniel photo

The Bayside Expo Center was built as a shopping center in 1966 before becoming an exhibition hall in 1982. The sign was built the same year as the site’s conversion to an exhibition hall.

UMass bought the Bayside property, a 20-acre site, in 2010, and eventually designated Accordia Partners to develop it. The vacant Bayside Expo Center was demolished in 2016, after its roof collapsed.

Before the Bayside’s demolition, Corcoran Jennison pushed UMass to also take down the sign, saying that the state of the structure had deteriorated and raised safety concerns.

But UMass balked at the request and pointed to an engineering report that disputed the claims of an engineering consultant retained by Corcoran Jennison.

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