Demolition of White Flint Mall’s southeast garage Wednesday. Photo by Aaron Kraut

The White Flint Mall is, finally, coming down.

The mall’s owners—The Lerner Companies and Tower Cos.—received their first permit to take down one of the parking garages Tuesday and a contractor was sent Wednesday to the mall to begin tearing it down, according to Robert Brewer, the land use attorney representing the owners.

“I think it’s fair to say the long-awaited demolition has begun,” Brewer said.

Brewer said the contractor will start with the parking garage on the southeast portion of the mall property, which is behind where Bloomingdales was previously located. The garage is the most distant from the still-operating Lord & Taylor store.

The mall’s owners are still waiting for the county to approve a few other demolition permits, which will allow them to demolish the other garages and the mall building. Brewer said there’s still a pending issue with relocating the utilities in the mall building that’s holding up the issuance of that permit.

Brewer said he does not believe Lord & Taylor is still contesting the demolition permits, although the retail store continues to pursue its remaining claim over the store’s lease with the mall’s owners.

A trial to decide that claim could take place later this year in federal district court. Scott Morrison, a trial attorney who is representing the mall’s owner in that case, said in May that the mall’s owners have no intention to settle with Lord & Taylor.

The retailer is claiming the mall’s owners violated an easement agreement to maintain the mall as a “first-class” shopping center until at least 2042 by putting forth a town center-style redevelopment proposal and not renewing leases for stores inside the mall building.

The mall has sat vacant for about a year and a chain-link fence currently surrounds the building.

A community notice sent to neighbors of the mall says demolition is scheduled to take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The garage the contractor began tearing down Wednesday is expected to take about three to four months to tear down. The contractor has closed the back section of the ring road that surrounds the mall.

Community group Friends of White Flint first reported the news.

Community Notice-July8 2015

White Flint Mall demolition Wednesday. Photo by Aaron Kraut

Contractors closed the back side of the ring road that surrounds White Flint Mall. Photo by Aaron Kraut