The demolition of the old Guilford County Department of Mental Health building on the corner of North Eugene Street and West Friendly Avenue in downtown Greensboro is set to begin this week.
The Greensboro City Council approved a contract with D.H. Griffin to demolish the building in October 2021.
While it may seem odd for the City of Greensboro to be demolishing a Guilford County building that until recently housed the Sandhills Center mental health facility for Guilford County, in 2019, as part of a complicated land transaction that involved Guilford County, the City of Greensboro and The Carroll Companies (which owns the Rhino Times), Greensboro bought the building with the intention of tearing it down.
The real estate transaction included The Carroll Companies providing some of the land that Greensboro needed to build the North Eugene Street parking deck and Greensboro, after purchasing the old mental health building from the county, agreed to lease it back to the county for $1 a year and not to demolish it for two years.
The agreement between The Carroll Companies and Greensboro called for the city to demolish the building before turning the land over to The Carroll Companies.
Some longtime Greensboro residents still refer to the building as the Sears and Roebuck building, since it began its life as a Sears store after, what was at the time, a controversial land sale.
The demolition of the old mental health/Sears building is expected to be completed by June, which will clear the site for a mixed-use development, Carroll Ballpark South, planned by Roy Carroll, the president and owner of The Carroll Companies.
When Carroll Ballpark South was announced in 2019, the estimated cost of the project, which would include a hotel, meeting and office space, apartments and ground floor retail, was estimated at $140 million.
The plans for Carroll Ballpark South call for it to wrap around the city parking garage with frontage on Bellemeade Street, North Eugene Street and West Friendly Avenue.