BELLEVILLE — Demolition of the former pants factory on South First Street is underway and construction of a long planned senior living community is expected to begin next month.
The building has been vacant for the past four decades and is coming down to make way for The Cottages at Cathedral Square. The demolition began Monday.
The neighboring St. Peter's Cathedral has owned the building for decades. It is the last obstacle to clear before construction of the $8.2 million, 32-unit residential development can begin. Homes along South Second Street and a former tavern on the corner of West Garfield and South First streets were demolished in 2011 to clear the way for the development.
The church's convent, where the Sisters of Notre Dame formerly lived, and Cathedral Grade School's gymnasium, the McCormick Center, are also located on the block. The McCormick Center will remain, and the convent will be renovated.
Architect Bill Reichert, of EWR Associates Inc. in Fairview Heights, said the project is expected to begin by March or April and could be finished by the end of the year.
"It has taken so long and everyone wants to get it going as quickly as possible," Reichert said.
The first tenants could be moving in by the end of the year.
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.