Piece by piece

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, May 10, 2012

The former health department site is shown Thursday afternoon in a state of disarray. The building is being demolished slowly so that materials can be salvaged and recycled, a leasing agent for the building said. It will make way for new shops.

Former health department building comes down

As the walls on the former Health Department building come down, city officials and the real estate agent leasing the soon-to-be new building are revealing new details on what it will look like and what companies will be there.

About three-quarters of the building is pre-leased, said Ted Levin, a leasing and sales agent with Thalhimer Commercial Real Estate who is also a partner on the deal.

In addition to restaurant Panera Bread, which had already been announced, Levin revealed Wednesday that AT&T and nTelos both have taken spots in the building, as well as a mattress company that has not been released publicly.

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In addition, Levin said Wednesday the Panera Bread will be the first with a drive-through in the area.

The demolition of the building has been taking place slowly during the last few weeks. Levin said the company is salvaging and recycling many of the materials.

“We’re just waiting to get our final approval for our site plan,” he said. “Now we are just being a little bit selective as to who we want to put in the remaining space. We just want to pick the right tenant.”

About 7,500 square feet remains to be leased, Levin said. He is pleased with how the project has gone so far.

“We’ve been pretty blessed to have all these leases completed in this economy prior to beginning construction,” he said, adding that the city and Economic Development staff have been “terrific to work with.”

Levin said the company is in talks with other companies to lease other spots in the 20,000-square-foot total building.

“I sincerely believe in this project, and I know it’s going to work,” he said. “It’s something we’re all going to be proud of.”

In Wednesday’s Economic Development Authority meeting, Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said he will be visiting an International Council of Shopping Centers conference in a few weeks to help promote that site and others in the city.