Residents in the area of Hathaway Road in New Bedford were abuzz with the sight of the water tank from the former Building 19 being demolished Monday morning.

The removal of the iconic structure is the first step in the process of Washburn Realty, LLC preparing the site for a future new occupant. Liz Isherwood, spokesperson for Washburn, tells WBSM News the site is more attractive to potential occupants if they can start with a clean slate.

"This is part of the process. The plans are for complete demolition," she said. "But before that happens, they have to abate the asbestos in the building, and they're working with the Mass DEP on that. Once the asbestos is all cleaned up, then the demolition plan will be put in place."

Isherwood said the entire demolition process could take between eight and 12 months to be completed.

"The building is not usable by today's standards," she said. "So they'll start with a clean slate, clean site and see what's there, and then determine what's the best and highest use of the property."

Isherwood said that as of right now, "there are no definitive plans" for the site.

"Having an absolutely empty site is a lot more attractive to somebody who might want to come in and build something than dealing with everything that the current owner is dealing with," Isherwood said.

But she did say she's heard some of the rumors that are out there about who might be moving in.

"They're all rumors," she said. "Anything that you're hearing now is all rumors."

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