Tower Records building coming down

It was the site of skate-filled fun before Costa Mesa was (officially) Costa Mesa.

For decades the Harbor Roller Rink, which opened in 1950, boasted air-conditioning and smelled of floor wax. It shut down because of the waning popularity of roller skating.

What came next for the building — with its arched, hangar-like roof — was a liquor store, a Tower Records location and, for the past several years, an unimproved lot plagued by graffiti.

But plans for a Walgreens at 1726 Superior Ave. are finally moving forward.

The pharmacy is likely to be a welcome addition for residents, who for years have seen the vacant half of the highly visible, triangle-shaped property go without a tenant. The Del Taco will remain at the site.

Demolition of the 11,000-square-foot building — which is bordered by busy Superior Avenue, 17th Street and Newport Boulevard — begins Monday, city officials said.

“The next step is to secure grading permits and building permits to initiate construction for the new Walgreens building,” said Claire Flynn, Costa Mesa’s assistant development services director.

Tower Records will be replaced with a new 14,310-square-foot building that includes a 4,320-square-foot basement, according to city planning documents.

The new Walgreens will be the Illinois-based chain’s only one in the Newport-Mesa area. The company bought the property in 2007 for $9.7 million — a record-high at the time for any Costa Mesa retail property, according to an Orange County Business Journal report.

Signs of the structure’s former identity as a music store have remained since it closed in 2006. Remnants of the iconic red and yellow “Tower Records/Videos” signage along the wall facing Superior Avenue are still there, as is Tower Records “customer parking only” in the dusty, gated-off parking lot.

In 2012, the City Council unanimously approved plans for the project submitted by Foothill Property Management. A call for comment to the management company was not returned Friday afternoon.

“We’re happy to see it’s finally gonna happen,” said Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, who was on the council when the project received approval. “It’s in a great location.”