Mayor Joe Affronti and his wife, Liz, watched as a backhoe picked up chunks of twisted metal and debris from what was once Payless ShoeSource.
"Pretty exciting, huh?" Mayor Affronti said.
Workers began demolishing the old buildings north of Sweetbay Supermarket and redoing the parking lot this morning in Temple Terrace's redevelopment area. It was the beginning of Phase 2 in the three-phase project.
The demolition was originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, but it was postponed until today because prep work needed to be done first.
The project, which began in July of last year, is ahead of schedule, according to Mike Vlass, head of Vlass Temple Terrace LLC. Once complete, it will give Temple Terrace a true downtown area with shopping, dining, offices and residential spaces. The library will be relocated there, and a Performing Arts Center will be built there, too.
The buildings that are being torn down now have asbestos in them and are totally unsalvageable, Vlass has said. They'll eventually be replaced by multi-family residential spaces. There will be four, four-story buildings with gated access.
More than 200 apartments will be constructed beginning in early January, Vlass said.