A section of an abandoned office building on the former Brach’s candy factory site at Cicero Avenue and Lake Street on the West Side was partially blown up last Wednesday afternoon for a scene in next year’s Batman sequel.

At 2:15 p.m., Aug. 29, one half of a four-story, gray building imploded, thanks to the efforts of a film crew. The entire former Brach’s site, located at 401 N. Cicero Ave., covers 32 acres and includes a large factory plant and smaller buildings.

The building imploded for the film, which is due out next summer, is located near a large parking lot along Cicero, and next to the Metra rail tracks just north of Lake Street.

The site was transformed into a hospital location for filming. A rehearsal, minus the explosion, took place shortly after 2 o’clock with actors and extras, some dressed like doctors and nurses in green and white, running from the building. A black helicopter hovered above to film the scene.

Neighborhood residents stood across the street on Cicero watching the filming. Safety and security personnel cleared the side of the street near the blast site and Chicago police blocked off Cicero from Kinzie to Hubbard streets.

At 15 minutes after, several booms sounded. Several more small explosions and then two larger ones went off while watchers cheered. Filmmakers rigged things to have only half the building explode. A massive plume of black smoke rose to the sky afterward.

The Batman Begins sequel, titled The Dark Knight, wrapped up summer filming in Chicago last week, most of which took place downtown. The sequel is scheduled for release on July 18, 2008.