Bids start to raze old Sears building - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Bids start to raze old Sears building

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Montgomery Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes says when the old Sears building went dark, so did the area around it. "This was a go-to place. This was a very nice retail area," Downes said.

Property value declined and businesses started moving east.

"The west side of Court Street has some work to be done to it," Downes explained.

Signs of neglect are all around the building, but Downes says that's all about to change.

"This area of the city has economic vitality because people live here, people travel through here and it's just a matter of time," according to Downes.

City officials say bids are taking place right now and demolition could start within 60 days. They're hoping for another commercial opportunity that will revive this building that's been considered an icon of economic disparity.

"If we can remove this icon of disparity, I think what you will find is hope," Downes said.

There is hustle and bustle all around the dead building, at places like Wing Master. The owner says reviving the Sears building will help the area.

"[It will help] with the residents, and it will be good business," Wing Master owner Jason Kem believes.

Aisha Bargam has been the manager of Shoe Time on Fairview Avenue for five years. She says upgrades to current businesses and new businesses are needed.

"It is great to bring more business in this area and more building. We need more businesses coming back here. For example, everyone moved to East Chase," Bargam said.  

The city has lofty dreams of eventually transforming the lot into a residential area with a park and community garden. But says the building will have to come down first.

"As we rid the cancer, if you will, I think everyone will be healthier at the end of the day," Downes said.

The Sears building revitalization project is one of about a dozen projects under the city's West Montgomery Initiative.

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