ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Five years ago, Hurricane Floyd destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in eastern North Carolina.
One of the hurricane's victims was Tarrytown Mall, a Rocky Mount landmark.
A major chain is helping to bring the mall back to life.
Owners of the mall just announced they are selling it to the Wal-Mart Co., which plans to tear it down and build a Sam's Club.
The doors and windows on the old mall have been boarded up since Floyd flooded it in 1999. Grass and weeds have sprouted from just about every crack in the parking lot.
"It's been too long," said Shirley Bowman, who lives near the mall. "It's been sitting here. It's just an eyesore to our whole city."
Business owner Glenn Bunn said that when the mall traffic disappeared, so did business.
"We've been looking forward to this since the flood," Bunn said. "We hope to have it next year -- as fast as they can get it torn down and build it back up."
Once the new store is in place, owners of property around the mall hope to lease the area around it to bring in more restaurants and office buildings.
The Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce and city leaders worked with the mall owners for years to find a new tenant.
"With the creation of new jobs, and to really change the look of that area, is going to have a dramatic impact on Rocky Mount's growth today and in the future," said Allan Matthews, director of business recruitment and economic development.
The project is expected to be finished by late 2005. Because it is located in the 100-year flood plain, the foundation of the new building will be raised to meet city standards and to avoid future problems.