Wrecking crews are set to start demolishing Camden's landmark Sears building today.
The Campbell Soup Co. purchased the building in New Jersey's most impoverished city as part of a plan to redevelop the neighborhood surrounding its corporate headquarters.
Sears opened its store in 1927 -- the first free-standing department store in South Jersey. But the retailer moved to the suburbs in 1971 when race riots gripped Camden.
The building along the Admiral Wilson Boulevard has housed a nightclub, car dealership, day care center and housing authority office since. But it's been empty and boarded up for the past several years.
Preservationists waged a five-year effort to save and repurpose the building, which was among the first department stores to be built with its own parking lot.
Wednesday's demolition is expected to take about eight weeks.