Two years after the Union Street fire burned six businesses to the ground and caused damage to others, the buildings lining West Union Street between Court Street and Congress Street are slated to be fully restored by February.

The properties have been slowly rebuilding since the blaze. At this time last year, only one of the buildings had begun construction: the Union Bar and Grille, 18 W. Union St. At that point, the other properties had all obtained demolition permits, but not construction permits, according to a previous Post report

The Union reopened in May, and since then, new businesses have moved in to the properties as well, including a clothing store and a credit union, according to a previous Post report.

The final piece of the puzzle will be a restaurant on the properties of 14 and 16 W. Union St., Guy Phillips, managing partner at Athens Housing Hotlink, said.

"There's still construction going on," he said. "But I think it will look like look like a finished building in February."

The business that will be moving in has not been revealed yet, however, Phillips said it will be a family-owned restaurant and this would be their fourth store. The lease has not been finalized.

The restaurant will be located on the first floor, which is about 3,000 square feet.

In addition to a new restaurant, there will also be four four-bedroom apartments opening upstairs, which are also expected to be completed around February.

Many students are already looking forward to the idea of a new food option uptown.

"I would be looking forward to (a new restaurant). There's not too many restaurants on this side of (Union Street) so it would be nice," Katie Viehbeck, a senior studying marketing and law, said.

Viehbeck, who lives right above the newly opened businesses, said she is hoping for a "Court Street Diner kind of place," where you can sit down and order your food.

Sarah Smith, a sophomore studying adolescent to young adult integrated language arts, said she would look forward to more of an Italian restaurant. 

"There's a lot of good food places (in Athens) but they're also really busy ... so maybe a new restaurant would help fix that problem," Smith, who lives in Bromley Hall near the construction site, said.

Other students, such as James Cvelbar, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, are looking forward to the opening of the restaurant for different reasons.

"I'm more excited for all the construction to be done," Cvelbar, who also lives in Bromley, said. "(It's a problem) on my way back from bars; it's kinda like an obstacle course. It makes things interesting."

@thenextbigming

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