A building that stood vacant for more than a decade took just minutes to come down Monday morning.
Demolition of the old Safeway building on Main Street had been in the works for weeks.
Seen as a key piece in the revitalization of the downtown, the property – which occupies a full city block – has long been eyed for its development potential.
However years of inactivity prompted the City of Chilliwack to call on the owners to tear the building down. In August council tabled a resolution that would require the owners to demolish the building within 90 days and sell the property.
Sobeys, which had acquired the land when it bought Canada Safeway Ltd., moved swiftly. Before the resolution passed, it agreed to put the property up for sale and take the structure down.
“Sobeys is in full agreement that the properties in their existing condition are not appealing nor do they add to our mutual desire to have a vibrant downtown,” wrote Sobeys vice president Earl Brown in a letter to Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
On Monday, after nearly two weeks of preparatory work, the giant backhoes from Clearview Grinding Ltd. moved in. Massive wood timbers that gave the building its characteristic shape were pulled down with ease.
A handful of people stood by to watch.
The demolition is not the final chapter for the property.
Just last week Chilliwack city council had approved a rezoning that changed it from commercial to high density residential.
The land is currently for sale, for $3.2 million.