AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Demolition teams are taking down an old strip mall in Aurora.

Parts of the Regatta Plaza, which is located at Parker Road and Interstate 225, have been empty for more than 10 years. It will be replaced with brand new retail space and apartments.

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 (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

There were crowds of people who showed up to see the demolition of the old shopping plaza begin. The people who live in the area say it has been a mostly vacant eyesore for their community and they are excited to see the new life that a new development will bring.

Liam Mazzoni, 3, and his mother drove from Highlands Ranch to be part of the demolition party.

Liam Mazzoni with his mother watching the demolition (credit: CBS)

Liam Mazzoni with his mother watching the demolition (credit: CBS)

“What are they going to do?” Liam’s mother asked him.

“They’re going to knock that building off,” he replied.

Deborah Gold has lived near Regatta Plaza for 17 years. She says it was once a thriving shopping center, but now bothered by crime and vacant stores as of the past decade.

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 (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

 (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

 (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“All of a sudden it just started going down, down, down,” Gold said. “So I didn’t even want to come over here, it was depressing to me. So I’m so happy to see this.”

Developers say Regatta Plaza will become a multi-phase redevelopment combining 500 residential units, retail and entertainment. KeyBank and King Soopers — both current tenants — will stay, but the grocery chain is getting a new store.

 (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

 (credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“This half of the site will be a traditional King Soopers shopping center with a lot of neighborhood shopping, some restaurants, and that sort of thing. The other half will have residential office, mixed use,” said George Thorn with MHK, the master developer.

The Aurora Urban Renewal Authority has been working to redevelop the site for about 10 years and says the demolition is a milestone.

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“Our property value and everything will be going up, so it’s a good thing,” Gold said. “Plus with the light rail across the way it’s really going to be a good thing for Aurora.”

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The retailer shops that will move in will be announced this summer. Many of them are in leasing negotiations now. Both affordable and market rate rental housing will be available.