Rachel Contracting of St. Michael has been hired to demolish the vacant factory on the site of the downtown St. Paul ballpark planned for the St. Paul Saints and amateur sports events, officials said last week.

Ryan Companies, the ballpark's architect and developer, hired Rachel for the four-month job.

The company began interior demolition Thursday at the Gillette/Diamond Products building, a 650,000 square-foot structure in the Lowertown district. Exterior demolition is expected to begin July 15.

The maintenance facility for Central Corridor light-rail transit, which rises below the Diamond Products building, will be protected during demolition, officials said.

The St. Michael company expects to recycle more than 90 percent of materials from the former factory. The company has demolished other large structures, such as St. Paul's former 3M campus and Brookdale Mall.

St. Paul will hold an event July 13 to mark the demolition.