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It will be tougher for some businesses to reopen after the fire than others, officials have said.

Union Street Fire: Kismet may not reopen; Union to see full recovery

Nearly three months after a fire ravaged Union St., the fate of some affected businesses remain up in the air.

Three months after a fire ravaged several buildings containing businesses and apartments on Union Street, signs of recovery are beginning to show.

The Union Bar & Grill, 18. W. Union St., suffered significant structural damage during the fire, including the complete collapse of its roof.

But building repairs are in the works so the business can eventually reopen.

“I don’t really have any idea how long that construction will take,” said Eric Gunn, the bar’s owner, adding that he is concerned about weather impeding the process. “I feel confident we’ll open sometime this summer. Does that mean May or does that mean September? I don’t really know.”

The roof needs to be rebuilt before any internal reconstruction can begin, Gunn said. But both Gunn and Pete Couladis, owner of the building, said an architect has been hired and is working on getting plans for the new roof approved by the state and city.

Couladis is also an owner of the building Jackie O’s Public House occupies. That building had relatively little damage outside of the kitchen and repairs should begin soon.

Jackie O’s suspended food sales in the weeks following the fire. It recently overcame that hurdle and is offering an “almost” full menu, according to a sign outside the brewpub.

Uptown Dog, a clothing retailer and custom printer, temporarily moved its headquarters across the street after losing 95 percent of its merchandise to water and smoke damage.

The store will have a “soft” opening of its new 10 W. Union St. location Friday, said Colleen Phillips, a sales manager at the store. Plans are in place to have a grand opening next week.

Colleen Phillips said she is unsure of the fate of the building.

Neither Smoke Zone nor Jack Neal Floral, which both appeared to sustain significant structural damage, were reached by press time; however, Guy Phillips, owner of the space Smoke Zone occupied, said he is in the early stages of repairing the building and reopening the apartments above the shop.

“I’m working hard toward rebuilding and retaining all the facades,” Guy Phillips said. “My goal is to do it as quick as possible but as nice as possible and maintain the historic value.”

Guy Phillips said blueprints for rebuilding the site have not yet been drafted, but added the city has been helping with debris removal and gathering bids from contractors.

Kismet, a two-year-old boutique that was caught in the fire, was almost completely destroyed and owners aren’t pursuing rebuilding or relocating.

“At this point in time I’d say we’re on indefinite hold,” said Victor Williams, co-owner of the clothing retailer located in the building at 16 W. Union St. “We’re trying to remain positive and hope for the best.”


William T. Perkins and Emily Bohatch contributed to this report.




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