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Sears store is coming down

Demolition is part of plan for Crossroads Mall

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Hundreds of bricks were knocked out of the Sears store as demolition on the building began Thursday. DeCarlo Demolition, of Des Moines, is doing the work.

Disintegrated bricks and a collapsed roof on part of the former Sears store, 307 S. 25th St., are the result of demolition work that got underway Thursday.

Excavator operators Zach DeCarlo and Michael Romanco, of DeCarlo Demolition, are doing the work at an estimated cost of $397,595. The firm is headquartered in Des Moines.

The Sears store, though it appears to be connected with the Crossroads Mall, is actually a separate building.

Its demolition comes a short time after plans were unveiled to redevelop the Crossroads Mall site.

Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, of Ankeny, plans to buy the mall for $3.3 million in a deal to conclude before March 1.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Michael Romanco, of DeCarlo Demolition, walks alongside an excavator on the site of the former Sears store Thursday afternoon. His brother in-law, Zach DeCarlo, is operating the excavator. The crew from Des Moines has been tasked with taking down the Sears store. DeCarlo anticipates completing the demolition of the store in four weeks. The Sears store opened at this location in 1964 and closed in January 2015.

Crossroads Plaza Development intends to demolish the mall and replace it with a collection of smaller retail and mixed use buildings, a medical or office building and a hotel.

That same firm has a separate deal in place to buy the old Sears store site from Blessing Enterprises, of St. Charles, Missouri, for $1,435,000. That deal is expected to conclude by Jan. 1.

But regardless of what happens with those development plans, the demolition of the Sears store was inevitable, according to Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich.

Bemrich said both the new and old owners intended to tear down the Sears store.

“The building is not consequential to redevelopment of the site,” Bemrich said. “No matter it be Blessing or Crossroads Plaza, both had the same intent to remove the building, so there’s no reason to delay that any further.”

Either firm will be reimbursed through the TIF program to offset the cost of demolition.

DeCarlo reported that the demolition should be complete in four weeks.

DeCarlo, a fourth-generation demolition operator, said materials will either be recycled or taken to the landfill.

The Sears store opened at this location in 1964 and closed in January 2015.