Saturday morning's demolition of the old Sycamore Street Acme was a moment that Mick Petrucci, a Newtown resident and president of the Newtown Business Association, has been waiting to happen for years.
"I've had many, many phone calls and late night meetings with people wanting to know why I couldn't do anything to take this building down," Petrucci said to the over 1,000 people who gathered outside the long-abandoned grocery store. "I'm personally happy today."
With that, the business association president said, "Mr. Worthington, tear down these walls!"
Jim Worthington, a managing partner for development project that will be built at the site, thanked township officials and residents for their help and patience with the project. "I'm sure you guys are tired of looking at it," he added, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Newtown Township Board of Supervisor's Chairman Mike Gallagher used a wrecking ball attached to a piece of heavy equipment to punch the first hole in the side of the building. Less than an hour later, professional demolition crews had taken down much of the brick and mortar building.
"My father always told me when I was growing up that 'good things come to those who wait.' And a very good thing is about to happen here," Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick said at the demolition party.
The demolition was the first step toward construction of the The Promenade, a mixed-use retail and residential development, that will anchor the site.
After the remains of the Acme are cleared, crews will assess whether construction on the new development should begin in fall or in the spring.
Plans for The Promenade feature 20,000 square feet of retail space and 26 high-end rental apartments. As per a restriction requested by Newtown Township, no full-service restaurants with liquor licenses will be permitted in the development.
Attendees of the Saturday demolition event donned yellow plastic hardhats that marked the occasion. Corner Bakery Cafe was on-hand and provided light refreshments to the crowd.
Linda Mitchell, an organizer of the event and public relations director for the Newtown Athletic Club, introduced a handful of former store employees who shared their memories and had photographs taken in front of the store before demolition began.
"This is a great day for Newtown's history," Petrucci said.
What are your thoughts on the demolition of the old Acme? What do you think about The Promenade project? Tell us in the comment section.
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