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Pritchett Ford's walls come tumbling down

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- An eyesore on the 400 block of Slappey Boulevard succumbed to the power of a demolition crew armed with a tractor's giant claw Wednesday.

A crew from Albany's Oxford Construction Co. began tearing down the more than 36,500-square-foot building Wednesday. Built in 1955, the structure previously was occupied by the Pritchett Ford dealership.

The dealership moved to 2926 N. Slappey Blvd. about 11 years ago where it now operates as Sunbelt Ford Town of Albany.

"We own the property we are demolishing," said Bruce Melton, president of Oxford Construction. "We'll demolish the building and recycle the concrete and steel."

The dealership building along with two attached garages at West Residence Avenue and Slappey Boulevard will be leveled to make the area suitable for sale, Melton said. It could be completed within 60 days, he added.

Melton said Oxford bought the dilapidated building from Ameris Bank, which had foreclosed on it. He would not say how much he paid, nor would he give an asking price for the cleared land.

Albany's new City Manager James Taylor has said that the lot is part of a designated "high growth" commercial area.

Considering that the immediate area hums with the activity of a CVS Pharmacy, a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store, a Short & Paulk Supply Co. store and a few fast food restaurants such as Maryland Fried Chicken and Wendy's, it could be a good investment.

Preparing the lot for investors required the removal and recycling of 10,000 used, discarded tires and a lot of trash left by the former tenants and squatters in the building, Melton said.

"It is a prime location. We'll grade it back to level first," Melton said. "We have no plans on what we'll ask for it. We'll get it appraised after the cleanup and then put it on the market."