After years of court battles, demolition began today on the Skyland Shopping Center to make way for a Walmart store and residential units.
Mayor Vincent Gray hosted an event at Skyland on Wednesday to kick off the demolition and provide updates on the long-awaited project.
D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry and other officials took a turn at operating the demolition equipment.
D.C. used eminent domain laws to acquire the property on 18 acres in Southeast. It will be developed for 315,000 square feet of retail, including Walmart, and a 500 residential units.
Merchants in the shopping center fought to prevent the acquisition of the properties containing their stores. They say Walmart is running out small businesses. They were given notice to vacate.
Mayor Gray says the demolition will be completed by mid-2013 and the property will be turned over to the developer.
The Washington Business Journal reports raze permits were issued on Sept. 21 for 2808 and 2812 Alabama Ave. SE the former Shoe City and an adjacent property.
Skyland Shopping Center is one of four locations where Walmart plans to open new stores in the District.
The other stores will be at Georgia and Missouri avenues Northwest, New York and Bladensburg avenues Northeast, on New Jersey Avenue in Northwest and on East Capitol Street near the Prince George's County border.