An iconic building in downtown Nanaimo was demolished on Sunday, almost a year after it was ravaged by a fire.

Crews began tearing down the Jean Burns building around 6 a.m.

The Commercial Street property had been sitting in a derelict state for nearly a year.

The old building was destroyed in March 2016 after an electrical malfunction sparked a massive blaze.

The company that owns the site says it has no plans to rebuild.

“It would’ve been nice if we could have saved it, but because of the damage to the building by the fire it kind of answered the question of what to do with it, so we had to bring it down,” said Rick Hyne with Crankshaw Holdings Ltd.

More than a dozen businesses and suites were destroyed in the fire.

A woman who owned an art studio says she’s working on a beautification project, consisting of artwork and archival pictures that will go up once the fencing is installed.

“It’s a very emotional thing,” Gerda Hofman said. “People lost quite a bit of their livelihood and that’s sad.”

A single lane on Terminal Road will remain closed for the duration of the demolition, which is expected to take about 20 days.