Demolition of Main Street Arena set to begin

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The demolition of the Main Street Arena on the Downtown Mall is scheduled to begin next week.

The city has already shut down a portion of the Water Street sidewalk, and construction vehicles are parked nearby.

"We've been gearing up for it for a while," said Andrew Boninti with CSH Development. "We're ready."

Boninti said the demolition will be completed in just 30 days. The building is able to be demolished so quickly because it is only 15 years old, much younger than many of the historic buildings on the Mall.

It is being removed to make way for a large office complex that will take two years to build. The finished structure will have more than 140,000 square feet of office space, meant for businesses large and small.

Boninti said he visited several downtown businesses earlier this week to gauge their feelings on the project.

"The overall reaction has been, 'Bring it on,'" Boninti said. "We want this activity. We want the vitality that's going to come with this project."

David Murray is the co-owner of Telegraph Art & Comics, which is situated right across the Mall from the construction site.

"As long as it doesn't block off too much of the mall, I think we will be ok," Murray said. "We're sad to see the ice skating rink go, but anything being there is better than nothing being there."

Murray is hopeful that the hundreds of construction workers and future office workers will become customers.

"We have a lot of young professionals who shop with us," Murray said. "It's always good for the Mall businesses to have more people on the Mall."

A group called Friends of Charlottesville Ice Park is working to build a new ice rink in northern Albemarle County, and they plan to use lots of equipment from the Main Street Arena.

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