Sam Gault, president of Gault Energy and Stone, tapped on the empty 365,000-gallon oil tank on the firm's Riverside Avenue site Thursday morning.

He predicted the Saugatuck landmark will be out of sight in "two or three weeks."

In place since the mid-50s, the tank will be dismantled piecemeal and sold as scrap metal as the firm embarks on the $4.5 million phase 1 of its new real estate development: Saugatuck Center.

The last oil was drained from the tank for delivery to Fairfield County customers a week ago, according to Gault. He is a fifth-generation member of the energy firm started by Robert Gault in 1863 during the Civil War.

The "energy" founder Robert Gault peddled to customers was coal.

Sam Gault said he and his dad, CEO Bill Gault, have had Saugatuck Center in the firm's incubator for some five years.

"Next week we are taking down two remaining buildings on Riverside," Gault said.

The buildings set for demolition are between the former DeRosa's and the Saugatuck Fire House.

Gault reported that when phase 1 is finished, there will be public access to the Saugatuck River on an oyster-shell covered walkway from the Saugatuck Fire House to the commuter parking lot near the Black Duck.

"There will be new boat slips on the Saugatuck," he said. "We expect to restore the village feeling that Saugatuck once had."