MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The first step before tearing down a downtown Memphis eyesore is finally underway. A contractor is fixing a wall inside 118 Madison; that will allow the crumbling building to be demolished after more than a year of court dates and red tape delays.
The progress is giving downtowners hope after months of frustration.
“Memphis is one of the great towns in the world, it really is. It's a famous city across the globe. But to let this happen in a business district, it's ridiculous,” said Seamus Loftus.
Of all the business owners on or near Madison Avenue, you may not find one angrier than Loftus, who owns the Brass Door.
“There are businesses down here, the Thai Bistro, which is a fantastic restaurant, the Brass Door, which is an Irish Pub, and you just simply cannot see it from the main street. So people who come into town from hotels, they obviously don't want to walk down here because of this thing. Why would they?” Loftus asked.
That, however, will soon change.
Work on the shared wall between 118 Madison and the building behind it should be done by the end of July.
Downtowners like Darlene Hilboldt says the city is finally making good on its promise
“That's wonderful, we've been waiting a long time. It'll be nice to get rid of this mess and have traffic, the trolleys and everything,” Hilboldt said.
It's been more than a year since the roof of 118 Madison collapsed, blocking traffic on the downtown street and providing an unavoidable eyesore to everyone passing by. Now that progress is being made, downtowners have something to smile about.
“It's good. It's good news, I'm glad that they got it going again because it's time. It's been over a year, it's been closed for a while and it will help a little bit,” said restaurant owner Sam Moustapha.
So look forward to fall. That's when the building should be gone and the street re-opened to two-way traffic.