Building razed for new building
ALPINE — At 8:30 a.m. Monday, a crew from Fairwood Construction started tearing down the former Alpine Market near the intersection of Alpine and Bellfountain roads to make way for a new commercial building. It could have an upstairs apartment.
A crowd of 15 residents watched as, one-by-one, the walls collapsed and crashed to the ground. The building, which dates to the 1930s, is being demolished to make room for a new two-story building.
Local reaction was mixed. Some residents were sad to see the old building being razed, even though it has been vacant and in disarray for the seven years since the Alpine Market closed in April 2004.
“I worked there for six years,” said Shirley Paulson. “During that time I saw and knew everyone here. Since it closed, I don’t see nearly as many people.”
Others were excited about the possible new gathering place that a new building could bring to the small town about 22 miles south of Corvallis.
“We are going to have ourselves a high-rise here in Alpine,” said Jim Kavanaugh. “It’s exciting times.”
And perhaps a new market.
“When I bought the building my intention was to build a new market,” said Mary Allardt, who purchased the building and property in 2004, shortly after the market closed. However, her plans hit a snag because the building was zoned for rural use. It wasn’t until last year that she was able to get it rezoned. In addition to the commercial space on the first floor, plans for the new building call for an apartment on the second floor.
Allardt said she hopes to sell or lease the new building. She said she isn’t going to live in the upstairs apartment. She lives about two miles away from the building site.
“I’m hoping with the community center now being located next door, it will be attractive to someone,” Allardt said.
She said construction on the new building could start as soon as later this week, and that she expects it to be completed in four to six months.
Fire codes didn’t allow Allardt to completely maintain the original look of the Alpine Market, but she has tried to incorporate some of the former building’s trademark features.
“The designers and I tried our best to keep the look as original as we could,” Allardt said. “It will still have porches.”
That’s good news to residents such as George Wisner. He spent a lot of time at the former Alpine Market and has written several articles on the store. He said he was a big fan of the building’s front porch.
“It was a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the world go by,” Wisner said. “I really enjoyed seeing all the bicyclists pass on through.”
By 9:30 a.m., all of the building’s walls had been torn down, leaving a pile of rubble.
“You hate to see it go,” Wisner said. “At the same time, there was no way it could be rebuilt. It was an institution here. And now that it’s gone, it’s the end of an era.”
Raju Woodward can be reached at 758-9526 or email@example.com