One of Tuscaloosa's busiest areas is changing as crews demolish the old Fire College Building on McFarland Boulevard to make way for a new restaurant.

The brick building with its three street-facing vehicle bays stood in front of the Bowlero bowling alley between Snow Hinton Park and the University Mall.

It also briefly served as the headquarters of the Tuscaloosa Emergency Management Agency after their building was destroyed by the EF4 tornado that devastated the city in April 2011.

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The property is owned by the University of Alabama, which petitioned the city government last year to rezone the 1.3 acres there from Institutional use to Business.

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission considered the matter last July and unanimously recommended the rezoning, which the council unanimously granted two months later.

The University was represented in the meetings by the civil engineering firm McGiffert and Associates, who said UA planned to demolish the old Fire College and lease the property to a developer for a new restaurant on the location.

The University has not said if they have a specific concept in mind for the space or if they simply see the property's potential to generate revenue in its prime location so close to the mall, Bowlero and Midtown Village.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

The demolition of the existing structure was well underway and proceeding quickly Tuesday afternoon.

For updates on the future of the property and other exclusive stories from the restaurant and retail development beat, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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