Demolition begins for 'Blues Brothers' mall

February 15, 2012

The Associated Press

HARVEY, Ill. — A suburban Chicago mall made famous for its high-speed demise in "The Blues Brothers" movie 30 years ago is meeting its real-life end.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday that demolition has officially begun at Dixie Square Mall in south suburban Harvey. The vacant mall has been an eyesore ever since cars unceremoniously smashed through it in the iconic film.

"The demolition of the Dixie Square Mall will help revitalize the local economy and create much needed jobs," Quinn said in a statement. "Although we will always remember the Dixie Mall as the location for one of the most iconic scenes in 'The Blues Brothers' movie, it is time for this now vacant building to be torn down to make way for more economic development for the Harvey community."

Quinn set aside $4 million in federal disaster recovery funds for the project in 2010. Work to clear the property had previously stopped when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued Harvey over asbestos removal in 2005.

Ed Paesel, executive director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, said the initial investment for the project is "critical to Harvey's future."

The 39-acre site was recently condemned over concerns about its structural stability and the presence of asbestos. The governor's office said the cleanup and demolition project will support 42 jobs, including 18 new full-time positions.

The mall, which opened in 1966, closed in 1979, then shortly thereafter was featured in "The Blues Brothers."