The company’s announcement prompted mixed emotions from Mark Willis, a local businessman who once owned the Sears Building. Willis in 1999 helped thwart plans by the Delaware River Port Authority to level the building as part of a boulevard beautification project.
“It absolutely breaks my heart,” said Willis. “When the first ball hits it, I’ll be there. And when the last ball hits, I’ll still be there.”
But Willis also said the building’s decline symbolized Camden’s failure to value an architectural treasure.
“The way I care about the building, I’d rather it be gone than look like that,” he said. In that context, Willis added, “I’ll be glad to see that great building leave the city. It’s a testament to the lack of imagination on everybody’s part.”