Demolition of the former St Ann's Church started on Monday.

The demolition contractor, Associated Building Wreckers Inc., will continue work on Tuesday morning. Work was held up temporarily because wood beams, not steel, were found inside the columns in front of the structure, so more precautions will be needed before the building comes down.

Frank Colaccino, president of Colvest-West Springfield LLC, recently said the site will be used for retail development. Colaccino’s company, based in Windsor, Conn., bought the church and rectory at 560-576 Memorial Ave. on Oct. 18 for $650,000.

Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield closed the church on Dec. 31, 2008, after a struggle with parishioners who wanted the diocese to keep it open.

The diocese has removed the church’s stained glass windows, as well as all sacred materials, according to spokesman Mark Dupont. The diocese sold the property as part of pastoral planning because it no longer had a use for it, he said.

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