WALNUT CREEK -- Because of the demolition of a 40-year-old eight-story building at Newell Avenue and Main Street, traffic south of Broadway Plaza has been a bit slower and more congested than usual.

And as the building disappears, so, too, will much of the congestion.

"We want to have the work done by the 21st, because of a city moratorium on work projects" over the holiday, said Carlton Thompson, an associate engineer with the city.

Shopping and travel traffic downtown dictates the street closures needed during the demolition must be gone by Thanksgiving, he said.

The doomed building, known variously as "1500 Newell" or the "Peace Building," was one of Walnut Creek's first high-rises. It is now making way for development of a mixed residential-commercial project called The Village.

The $18 million project calls for a four-story mixed-use building to house 49 condominiums and 38,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, all with two levels of underground parking (one commercial and one residential).

The building will take up space from the corner of Newell Avenue and Main Street, across the street from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in downtown's south end, stretching north up Main Street to a point across from the southwest section of Broadway Plaza. The 7-Eleven store on Main Street there would be demolished.

The Peace Building -- called that because of the large peace sign that once graced its side -- was built in the 1970s, originally as a home for Security National Bank, founded in the mid-'60s by Pete Stark, who went on to hold several political posts, and who this week was voted out of office after almost 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. In more recent times, it had been an office building with retail on the ground floor.

More detailed plans for The Village project are expected to get to the city early next year, Thompson said. It's possible the new development could be finished in 2015, if various approvals occur as envisioned.