MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Demolition has begun on an historic Robbinsdale movie theater after a long fight to save it from redevelopment.

Robbinsdale city officials announced on Facebook early Saturday afternoon that a demolition permit for the Terrace Theatre was obtained Friday, and a contractor had already started to tear it down.

A group called The Friends of the Terrace Theatre filed an appeal Friday after their request for a restraining order to stop the demolition was denied.

The grocery store chain Hy-Vee announced in July that they planned to build a store where the Terrace stands, but put those plans on hold after an outcry from some residents and preservation supporters.

Robbinsdale officials said in August that the city could not afford the millions of dollars required to restore the theater.

Some Robbinsdale residents say they understand the need for redevelopment, but they are sad to see the old theater go.

“I’m 48 now and the first movie I ever saw was ‘Mary Poppins’ at the Terrace Theatre,” resident Eric Haug said. “So it has sentimental value to me and a lot of people in the community. The fact that it’s being torn down has really divided our community.”

“I think that overall people are really ready for change,” Rene Sussman said. “We’ve had this empty since, my understanding is, 1999, so most of the neighbors I’ve talked to are really excited for something new to come here. Whatever that might be, it’s been blight for a long time and it needs to go.”

The Terrace first opened 1951, and was once considered one of America’s most luxurious theaters. It closed in 1999.