THE redevelopment of Launceston's most controversial eyesore has hit its second stage.
A large crane was brought in this week to demolish parts of the C. H. Smith building that were formerly occupied by pentecostal Christian group Potter's House, on Canal Street.
The $30 million project started last year with the demolition of the old C. H. Smith Marine building, but progress has been slow.
Developer Brile must now pay $220,000 for a mandatory six-week archaeological dig before it can start the final phase of demolition, which is tied to the start of construction on the C. H. Smith facade.
The heritage-listed frontage on Charles Street dates back to 1833.
``It's not cheap and I think that's where we all need to have patience,'' Brile director Peter Velt said yesterday.
``Rome wasn't built in a day. We're building a fairly substantial thing and we've got a lot to do.
``But we're there, every day we're working on C. H. Smith.''
The Geelong-based company is keen to retain the site's name once the three-storey, 20-store complex is built.
It's likely to be called the C. H. Smith Lifestyle Centre.
``The site really is the C. H. Smith site, so it's nice to have that name with it for historical purposes and forever and a day,'' Mr Velt said.
``People in Launceston refer to it as C. H. Smith and yes, they refer to it in an ugly state, in the way it is now, but later down the track they'll refer to it as being preserved.''
Last year the Launceston City Council approved Brile's proposed redevelopment of the site, which has been host to a myriad of plans that never eventuated.
``There's a lot of (approval) conditions on that site, that's the reason why no one ever took it on,'' he said.
``The old buildings aren't as structurally sound as everybody thinks they are and we have to work in with that.''
Second-stage demolition works are expected to finish by the end of the month, with construction likely to have started by June.
Brile hopes to open the complex in December.
Last year JB Hi-Fi confirmed it would set up shop there.