By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — For decades, Sacramento’s Rusty Duck restaurant stood as a favorite destination for food and celebrations. On Wednesday, the old building was bulldozed.

The restaurant had been closed since 2008, leaving the building empty along a scenic stretch of the American River.

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Sacramento city council member Jeff Harris represents the River District, where the Rusty Duck is located.

”You know, it does have a history,” Harris said.

Harris says the owner, Steve Ayers, is now planning on building a huge housing complex on the site, including a possible high-rise. Harris is backing the plan.

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“The River District is perfectly poised for a renaissance,” Harris said.

The Rusty Duck location on Bercut Drive is located close to a planned California State mega-campus on Richards Boulevard, where 6,000 state employees will soon work.

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It’s also near the proposed Railyards Boulevard Major League Soccer stadium, and entertainment district. Harris says adding new housing nearby would free new River District workers from commuting.

“Wouldn’t it be far better to have people living three blocks away and walk to work? Well, that’s the Rusty Duck,” Harris said.

Harris says homelessness in the River District is a concern, and that demolishing the Rusty Duck was partly done for safety after several homeless were found inhabiting the building.

“The River District is homeless central, in the entire city,” Harris said.

Harris believes new housing will be a deterrent for homeless in the River District.

“A well-managed complex can discourage homeless from the area, so it moves it to a different place,” Harris said.

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The end of a favorite Sacramento restaurant. Could it be the beginning of River District revival?