by Lisa Tome
Although initial reports following the fire at North East Plaza had Rite Aid rebuilding first, plans have changed.
Now, it is anticipated that Olympia Sports will reopen before the other businesses.
Jeff Thorpe, Plans Reviewer for the Cecil County Department of Permits and Inspections, met with representatives for the owners of North East Plaza, the Cordish Company and insurance companies last week. Thorpe confirmed that the damaged area of the plaza will be rebuilt/repaired/renovated.
On October 3, 2013, a three-alarm fire and smoke damaged Frank's Pizza, Game Stop, North East Liquors, Cecil Bank, Images Salon, Little Ceasars, Olympia Sports, and Rite Aid in the shopping center. Estimates in the wake of that fire had damage at $10 million. A team of Deputy State Fire Marshals along with Special Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been investigating the cause of the fire which originated at Frank's Pizza.
"They're ready (to rebuild). They are just trying to get the numbers in line," said Thorpe. He said a date for reopening hasn't been set but did say he provided a list of everything that needs to be completed so businesses can reopen.
He said that a new roof will be put on in the damaged area. All phases of the rebuild will comply to current standards. That includes more stringent wall insulation codes and complying with ADA (American Disabilities Act) standards.
"There are a lot of unknowns at this point. All I know is they are ready to go," said Thorpe.
In other business from the permitting department, construction of apartment complexes seems to be a current trend. A plan was submitted to add a new 12-unit building at West Creek Apartments on Fletchwood Road.
The Parklands 62-unit apartment complex in Cecilton is also moving forward. Riverwoods at North East will also bring 76 1, 2, and 3, bedroom apartments to East Main Street Extended in that town.