A power shovel gnawed away at the walls of the former Ernst Store as demolition began Tuesday afternoon on half of the Silver State Mall.
Crews and equipment from Kroker Inc., a demolition and environmental contractor from Fresno, Calif., will take about three weeks to demolish the L-shaped portion of the mall from its southeast end near Fairview Drive to the dividing wall of Sav-On Drugs.
A 135,000-square-foot Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse is slated to open on the site in May 2001.
The east leg, which housed Carson City's Kmart before Ernst's short-lived tenancy, should be demolished by Saturday.
At the junction of the east and west portions, an asbestos removal contractor is removing a small quantity of the hazardous material that was located during a pre-demolition survey. Once the removal is complete, the remainder of the walk-through mall and former commercial space will be demolished.
Kroker's contract includes removal of debris from the site, leaving bare ground where 200,000 square feet of stores and restaurants have stood since late 1975.
RMC Constructors of Fresno, the general contractor hired to build the improvement center, will have five months to complete the project once demolition is completed.
Sav-On, Office Depot, Ming's Chinese Restaurant and Big Al's Pizza will stay open in their current locations throughout construction.