September 10, 2010 – Starting Tuesday, September 13, General Waste Services, Inc. and its subcontractor GreenTrac will begin demolition of a portion of the Sears Building at the intersection of Fourth Street and Piasa Street (U.S. 67). During demolition, a portion of West Fourth Street east of Piasa Street will be closed as well as “Lower” Market Street between Third and Fourth Streets.
The demolition is part of a major renovation planned for the property. Funding for the environmental investigation was made available from the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority (SWIDA). Mike Lundy of SWIDA said, “SWIDA is extremely happy to assist the City of Alton on several projects including the Sears demolition. SWIDA was able to provide assistance with funding for EPA assessments of Phase I and Phase II for this project. SWIDA views its roll as a partnership with communities like Alton to help development move forward and save the City money. There are a lot of encouraging projects happening in the Alton area and SWIDA is happy to be a part of them.”
Alton Mayor Tom Hoechst said, “This is an example of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District working at its best. An historic building was not only saved, but returned to the property tax roles with new jobs added. A blighted city block will be improved and a much needed landscaped parking lot for our local businesses will be constructed. I am confident that this development will spark increased investment in the downtown area.”
Demolition is expected to last fifteen (15) working days. John and Erin Frew submitted a bid to purchase the Snyder’s Building and the remaining portion of the Sears Building earlier this year. They intend to relocate Carol Frew’s Bridal and BestBridalPrices.com to the buildings once renovation can be completed.