RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — Once considered a state-of-the-art shopping mall, the old Richmond Town Square is now falling to the wrecking ball.

Built in 1966 by legendary Developer Edward DeBartolo Sr., Richmond Town Square fell on hard times like many malls across the country. For generations of greater Clevelanders, the demolition of the mall marks the end of an era.

Richmond Heights Mayor Kim Thomas told Fox 8, “It’s bittersweet, I have great memories of Richmond Mall, you know. I’d bring my kids here and enjoy the popcorn at the movie theater and I can still smell the popcorn. I’m going to miss that.”

The city of Richmond Heights said the demolition of the mall will be done in phases, starting with the old Regal Theaters.

“Phase two is going to be JCPenny, and then they’re going start at each end of the mall and then work towards the center with the concourse,” Richmond Heights Fire Marshal Rick Sumrada said.

Once the mall is torn down, a California-based company called DealPoint Merrill will develop the site as a modern lifestyle center called “Belle Oaks Marketplace,” which will feature apartments, stores and restaurants.

“We’re excited now that demolition has started, but more importantly, it’s going to create growth. It’s going create opportunities for future residents to come to Richmond Heights, also small business owners to create jobs,” Mayor Thomas said.

While the city of Richmond Heights is offering tax abatement on the project, DealPoint Merrill is covering the cost of demolishing the mall and building the new development, which has a total price tag of $250 million.

City officials are hoping Belle Oaks Marketplace will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the old mall, and they point out that some of the rubble from the demolition will remain on-site and will be repurposed for the new project.

“There’s going to be rock crushers that arrive on site. The rock crushers are actually going to take most of the debris that is asphalt, concrete, things like that, smash it up and that’s going to be used for the base of the new development,” Sumrada said.

Fox 8 News was told that it could take more than two years to complete the demolition and that construction on the new project is scheduled to begin in 2025.