ATLANTIC CITY — Barking dogs and loud bangs woke up Scott Henderson one August morning two years ago.

Outside his door at the Bayview Inn, authorities were conducting a drug raid that displaced Henderson’s family and left him scarred.

“My kids were crying their eyes out,” said Henderson, who said he stayed at the rundown motel for about six months with his two children and wife. “I still think about it.”

On Thursday, demolition finally began on the eyesore inn on Albany Avenue, where a three-foot alligator was infamously found in the now-green pool during the raid, followed by two fires.

The tear-down has been long awaited by those who considered the crumbling building an eyesore at the entrance to Atlantic City.

Since it closed, it was rumored squatters were living there as the Albany Avenue building further deteriorated, with graffiti covering much of the outside.

Months after the raid, officials put a lien on the property and issued an order to raze it. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority said it would pay for the $240,000 demolition, but a lawsuit from a possible developer held up those plans. The suit was tossed out by an Atlantic County judge last month.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Henderson, who later moved to another motel in Egg Harbor Township, and then out of state. “I’m happy it’s being torn down … but I have a lot of memories there.”

In the parking lot Thursday, city worker Tom Edwards manned an excavator that ripped apart the motel’s pink walls.

A pile of mattresses, debris and one red, toy bike sat in a giant pile before Edwards used the construction equipment to lift it into a 100-cubic-yard truck headed for a landfill.

The demolition permit was issued Wednesday, he said, and police checked the rooms to ensure no one was living inside.

“I’ve been waiting ... and we got the call yesterday,” said Edwards, who arrived at 8 a.m.

The motel was set to be auctioned this week, but the sale was called off at the last minute.

Dale Finch, the city’s director of licensing and inspections, said the resort asked AC Auctions Realty auctioneer Robert Salvato and the owner, SomDev Real Estate, not to put the decrepit building up for public sale.

The city plans to put another lien on the property for the cost of demolishing it, Finch said. The owner could either pay off the lien, sell the land or abandon it, he said.

“We just want to make sure it’s gone so it doesn’t give the impression that Atlantic City is looking like that,” Finch said.

The Bayview’s fate is similar to that of a number of other Route 40 motels built decades ago.

The 2008 recession left fewer families visiting Atlantic City and booking motels nearby, putting a strain on many of the inns. Eventually, some simply became havens for drugs and crime.

Five in the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township were demolished in 2015 using CRDA money, including the Golden Key Motel, where the bodies of four prostitutes were found in 2006.

But seven remain, a roadblock to the redevelopment of the road into Atlantic City.

In December, Egg Harbor Township took a new approach to cleaning up the Pike by applying for a $2.4 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to tear down four Black Horse Pike motels: the Hi Ho Motel, Destiny Inn, Bay Point Inn and Budget Motel. They would be turned into green space.

In the Bayview’s parking lot, Bill Hayes, of JW Transportation Co., watched from his red truck as pieces of the motel were lifted into the dump truck. Hayes’ company is transporting the excavator being used for the job and estimates the entire demolition could take about a week.

The South Jersey native, who swiped towel racks from one room, said he used to visit the motels along Route 40 in the 1970s, before they went downhill.

“I stayed there before the casinos even,” he said. “They were nice places. ... It’s a shame.”

Contact: 609-272-7260 Twitter @ACPressColtShaw

Staff Writer

I cover breaking news on the digital desk. I graduated from Temple University in Dec. 2017 and joined the Press in the fall of 2018. Previously, I freelanced, covering Pennsylvania state politics and criminal justice reform.

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