For the first time in years, there was a crowd outside the abandoned Mirama Dining Lounge and Chinatown Mall on Tuesday.

This week, Cidex Group began demolition of the Jasper Avenue building. The company hasn’t yet announced what will replace the former dim sum spot, but is building a 24-storey mixed-use and residential tower across the street.

Ward 6 Councillor Scott McKeen, who tore the first pieces off with an excavator, said, “This has been a real eyesore, public safety concern.”

“To see this building going down, it’s real addition by subtraction.”

The president of the Boyle Street Community League called the project long overdue.

“It was a sad day when it closed, but unfortunately it degenerated so much that, unfortunately, it was a structure that couldn’t be saved,” Candas Jane Dorsey said.

In 2004, suspected rival gang violence broke out at two wedding receptions in the building. One man died.

Years later, it was fined for several health code violations. Eventually, the building was shut down.

Cidex plans to unveil its plans for the property in 2019.

“We are not only acquiring and developing the land, we are our own general contractors and property managers,” explained Sarah Itani, a business development manager at Cidex Group.

“We are in it for the long run.”

Demolition is expected to take one to two months.

With files from David Ewasuk