By Steve Large

LINDA (CBS13) — A 400,000-square-foot eyesore is finally being torn down in a Yuba County community.

Besides the blight, it also means goodbye to an ugly memory: the 1986 flood in Linda that left the Peach Tree Mall underwater. Excavators are now lined up to tear down the decay that has defined this building for decades.

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Rachel Downs is Yuba County’s new business engagement manager.

“For some of us in the younger generation, we don’t know this property as anything other than vacant,” Downs said. “It’s a constant reminder of what happened in that era, and now to see it coming down, it really is a visual representation of the movement and the development that’s happening within Yuba County.”

In 1986, a levee break led to a massive flood that left the mall and much of the community underwater. Approximately 26,000 people were evacuated. The mall never recovered.

Fast forward to 2021, the now-abandoned property went up in flames. An arson arrest has been made.

Robert Greear had just bought his home across the street from the mall, moving from Sacramento into Linda — a place he could afford.

“I woke up one morning and the sky is red and it looked like everything was on fire,” Greear said. “So it’s terrible about the fire, but maybe it’s a godsend because now something is going to happen with that land.”

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According to Yuba County realtor Muhammed Sandhu, the mall demolishion comes as home sale prices have now risen 20 percent in the area year over year.

“It’s a very hot competitive market,” Sandhu said. “You know people come from the Bay Area. Whatever they’re selling out there, they can literally afford two or three homes for the same price here.”

For Greear, the abandoned mall down his street was a deterrent for some buyers.

“It was a detraction, but I was hoping something would happen, that it would get torn down and become something,” Greear said.

Finally, something has happened.

“It’s been sitting vacant for over thirty years,” Downs said.

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As more people start to call Yuba County home, this defining old building is finally being demolished. Downs expects the property will become home for new retail, but something other than another mall.