It has been a landmark store in the area for longer than most people can remember. It was major news when the demolition was announced, and the final months the employees fought a losing battle against hordes of customers taking pictures of everything and anything related to the building. They recognized the great interest, so they had a one-time event late January where Daimaru card holders could enter the now-empty store and take pictures of the first floor area.
It's sad that the store disappears, of course, but I can understand why. The building is almost certainly not up to modern earthquake standards. And while the building is very beautiful, it's also very worn and really a bit too cramped to work well as a department store. A lot of that beautiful stonework is cracked, the stone floors are worn and uneven, and the all-important depachika — the grocery and delicatessen one floor down — is really quite small and with low ceilings by today's standards.
The new building will keep the current design of the façade, and it's said they'll also incorporate elements of the old interior. Hopefully they will be able to keep the charm of the old design in the new one.
The store has been here for as long as I've lived in Osaka — and all her life for Ritsuko, of course. Now it's gone. That's a major change. But that's OK. There will be a new store there in a couple of years; bigger, and perhaps even more beautiful. Change is often a good thing.