PROVIDENCE - Crews last Saturday demolished the old Sears building on North Main Street, the next step in the modernization of a block that once contained Sears, the Anderson-Little Men's Clothing store, and Down Under Duckpin Bowl.
The demolition makes way for a new LA Fitness facility and expansive parking lot across from Gregg's Restaurant. The actual gym will be located on the Pawtucket side of the city line, while parking for about 300 cars will be located where Sears and the former Anderson-Little were, on the Providence side of the line.
The Breeze reported in early 2010 that the old Anderson-Little store next to Sears had been demolished. The Anderson-Little sign was still standing last Saturday.
The Breeze reported in April that an LA Fitness facility was planned for the property located between Ann Mary Way in Pawtucket and White Street in Providence. LA Fitness has about 700 locations across the country.
The Pawtucket City Planning Commission approved the LA Fitness proposal in May. City officials say the planned fitness facility is yet another sign that the city is making progress.
"We are seeing an increase in activity and private investment in Pawtucket, and it's exciting," said Mayor Donald Grebien. "We will continue to prioritize economic development to provide good jobs here in the the city and expand our tax base to keep our rate down."
It's far too early to say how much tax revenue the new gym would add to the city accounts.
The LA Fitness will be located just up the road from two of Pawtucket's major mill redevelopment success stories, 545 Pawtucket Ave. and the Hope Artiste Village.
The addition of an LA Fitness in Pawtucket appears to be part of a wider plan by the company to expand from its single location in Cranston. The company attempted to acquire property in North Providence earlier this year.
The Providence-based Procaccianti Group owns the property where LA Fitness would be located on the Pawtucket/Providence line.
Officials from both cities and neighborhood residents have long advocated for revitalization in the area, which took a hit back in June of 2009 with the announcement that the former Shaw's store off Ann Mary Street would be closing for performance reasons.