Middlebury's Lazarus Building Demolished
What was once Middlebury's downtown department store is now a Main Street cellar hole and a pile of rubble. The planned demolition of the Lazarus building was "substantially completed" on Monday and cleanup will continue through Wednesday.
In an email blast sent Monday afternoon the town said Printers Alley, which was closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Monday, will reopen as planned on Tuesday. Although the building has been demolished, the foundation will remain in place and become a temporary "pop-up pocket park" until a nearby railroad bridge replacement project gets underway. That project is currently scheduled to start next year.
"The foundation will remain in place, as it supports Printers Alley, the Main Street sidewalk and the railroad overpass bridge," the town's email explained. "Plans are underway to use the foundation of the building as a pop-up pocket park until construction of the railroad bridge replacement project begins.
"The town is collaborating with students at the University of Vermont in a design-build exercise to create this pop-up park concept. The intent of the project is to facilitate an interim use for the space once occupied by the Lazarus building in the form of a public open-space setting. UVM students will use raw materials to create seating and planting space, and interpretive materials to explain the rail project and its history. Once the railroad project commences, the pop-up park will transition to a staging area for construction activities."
In the long-term, the razing of the Lazarus building will allow the town to widen Printer's Alley for two-way traffic and eventually construct a sidewalk, improving access to the riverfront and Marble Works area west of Main Street.