Demolition begins on section of old Crossroads Mall, making way for BJ's Wholesale Club

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Demolition crews could be seen tearing down a portion of the old Crossroads Mall in Roanoke Wednesday morning to make way for BJ's Wholesale Club.

Crossroads mall was the first indoor mall in Roanoke.

Footage from WDBJ7's 1958 archives shows a sign that boasts the mall would be "Virginia's first Air-Conditioned Shopping Mall".

"Where shopping is fun!" was the slogan for the mall on the sign.

"You know Crossroads is a major part of our history here," said David Mitchell, a Roanoke resident.

In its hey-day longtime Roanoke residents like Mitchell say the mall was the place to be.

"Crossroads has been part of my life ever since I was a little kid and I'm in my middle 50's."

For him, it's strange to see the building torn down.

"My mom and dad used to come here all the time when I was growing up because it was a major place to shop."

BJ's Wholesale Club is behind the demolition. They've submitted comprehensive development plans and building permits to the city for approval to build their first Roanoke Valley location.

The store is like Sam's Club or Costco: selling food, clothes, and other things at wholesale prices to customers with memberships.

"I'm looking forward to successful new retail stores coming in," said Steve Genger.

Steve Genger also has memories of Crossroads Mall, but the building being torn down doesn't phase him.

"I don't mind it being demolished and all. It's nice that there is a new wholesale club coming."

Bill Henderson, a Roanoke resident since 1988, also welcomes the idea of a new business moving into this location.

"Wonderful, yeah. I've seen this town double in size and all, which has been good for the economy."

According to a press release sent out by BJ's Wholesale in late October, the building is expected to open in 2018.

Click here to view the plans BJ's Wholesale Club submitted to the city.