One of Surrey's most notorious eyesores is finally being torn down.

Over the weekend, demolition crews arrived at the Surrey Public Market — which has sat vacant at the corner of 64 Avenue and King George Boulevard for nearly two decades — and began to rip down what's left of the old building.

"It's been 19 years that we've been looking at this place just decay and crumble," said Jude Hannah, who lives nearby.

"This is the day we've been waiting for."

The market was once a hotspot for shoppers — especially on weekends — but it has been left to rot since it closed in the late 1990s.

New life

Hannah watched the building deteriorate as it was sold from one owner to another.

Over the years, there have been several development proposals for the site, but they have all died for one reason or another.

Finally in October, 2016, Surrey city council signed off on a plan to build dozens of townhomes and apartment units on the southern part of the property.

The developer also wants to build a mixed use development — including commercial space and more than 80 apartments — on a parcel of land to the north.

The project is expected to go to council for final approval in early October.

"I can see with my own eyes that it's happening and I couldn't be happier," Hannah said.

Rat race

Hannah says the only downside to tearing down the building is the fear that rats will flee into the neighbourhood.

Project architect Wilson Chang says he's confident there will be no pest problem.

"We have a company that specializes in pest control doing that," he said. "That's very important to us."

B.C. Assessment lists the northern parcel at 6396 King George Blvd. at $6,379,000 and the parcel to the south at 6388 King George Blvd. at $4,450,300.

Chang says if all goes as planned, preliminary apartment and condo sales could begin next year.