There's a new look coming to an old neighbourhood in the north end of Saint John.

The city is tearing down a group of derelict boarded-up buildings that have been on the city's target list for months.

A pile of rubble is all that remains of a two-storey building that is bound for the landfill.

This is a busy time for demolition contractors all over the city.

Derelict buildings in one corner of the north end will be the next for the excavator, leaving some residents with mixed feelings.

“Every one of those buildings, yes, I knew people,” said Marg Byers, a north end resident. “If not my own family members, other friends and family.”

It costs thousands of dollars to demolish each building, an up-front cost for the city of Saint John.

“Initially the city is going to pay,” said Saint John Coun. John MacKenzie. “We're going to bill the property owner. If the property owner doesn't pay the bill, the bill goes to Fredericton. The New Brunswick government will pay Saint John.”

Then the cost will be added to the land-owners tax bill.

It takes months, sometimes even longer for the city to obtain legal authority to demolish dilapidated buildings, but once they get that authority, it doesn't take long for them to come down.

“Five to six hours to bring them down,” said contractor Byron Ackryed. “Other than that, no problem, they come down pretty good.

But after they come down, will anything go up?

“I'd like to have housing for people to live in,” said north end resident Joanne Johnson. “Suitable housing, so people can afford places.”

Said Byers: “On one hand, I'm sad to see the neighbourhood tore down, and nothing replacing it.”

But Coun. John MacKenzie says these lots won't stay vacant for long.”

“All we got to do is clean it up, and we get the perfect development area,” he said. “So clean it up, make it look right, they will come.”

Mackenzie says getting new construction here won't take nearly as long as it did to get the old buildings demolished.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.