ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- At its peak, the Covered Wagon motel was an affordable lodging option for families traveling through Anaheim.
However, over the years, the 70-room motel off Beach Boulevard became an eyesore for residents.
"This was a destination path on the way from L.A. to the beach, where people would look for recreation, family places to stay, inexpensive motels," said Mayor Ashleigh Aitken.
Demolition crews on Wednesday carved into the Covered Wagon and tore down the dilapidated building.
Jose Diaz, an Anaheim city councilmember who also lives near the motel, said it was heartbreaking to see prostitution, illegal gambling and drug dealers at the motel.
"This building took a year to be built and then it took 50 years of illegal actions, activities in here and then it takes one day to be demolished and that day will erase those 50 years of illegal dealings," he said.
The motel was shut down in March last year for health and safety reasons.
"We saw it be a den for human trafficking and prostitution, for drug users and drug sellers, but it also was a last ditch place for seniors and families that didn't have any other place to go," Aitken said.
"This building took a year to be built, and then it took 50 years of illegal actions, activities in here, and then it takes one day to be demolished," Diaz said. "That day will erase those 50 years of illegal dealings."
The city of Anaheim plans to transform the property into affordable housing and townhouses.
Aitken said the demolition symbolizes the problems they're trying to tackle in the city and their commitment to improve the area.
"While we know change can't come fast enough and the problems on Beach Boulevard are still real, this is Anaheim's plan in action to invest in our neighborhoods," she said.
The mayor said this is the third motel they've demolished in the last five years, and it's just the start of their revitalization of Beach Boulevard.
She says they'll continue to buy and tear down old motels if necessary.