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Date set for mall demolition

The demolition of the Lockport Mall to make way for a Walmart supercenter will begin the week of April 18, Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith announced Monday.

A "demolition ceremony" to mark the occasion has been scheduled for 2 p.m. April 13, Smith said.

"I've been waiting for this day for a long time," he said.

Walmart first proposed a supercenter for Lockport in 2004.

Since January, crews have been at work inside the vacant mall, removing asbestos and fixtures to prepare for the demolition.

General Growth Properties, the mall's landlord, will turn the property over to Walmart once the demolition is done. Walmart paid $3.95 million for the property.

The only part of the mall being saved is the Bon-Ton store. The last retailer standing at the once-bustling South Transit Road site, Bon-Ton will stay open as as stand-alone store with General Growth remaining its landlord.

Bon-Ton will share a parking lot with Walmart. Town building inspector Michael Brown said the town issued a building permit March 16 for a $700,000 refacing of the store.

The demolition permit for the rest of the mall was issued Dec. 28. No building permit has yet been issued for the 185,000-square-foot Walmart, which will replace an existing store a quarter-mile to the south.

Smith said once demolition begins, it will move fast.

"By the end of the month [of April], it'll be down to a cement slab," he said.

Walmart did not respond to a Buffalo News inquiry Monday about when construction on the store will begin. Smith said he didn't know.

It appeared the project may be free from litigation. Daniel A. Spitzer, attorney for Lockport Smart Growth, a group opposing the project, said Monday, "There's no plans for litigation at this time. We're monitoring the situation."

Smart Growth has lost in every court that has heard its complaints against the project.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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