The following article was submitted by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck.
I am very excited to announce that one and a half years after a devastating fire at the Belle View Shopping Center, all needed repairs and renovations have been completed and a grand re-opening is being planned for June 19. More details to follow!
Our community was fortunate the shopping center was unoccupied around midnight Oct. 21, 2019, when the fire started in a kitchen at one of the restaurants. One firefighter did receive minor injuries fighting the six-alarm blaze. However, the structure itself was not so lucky with at least eight businesses unable to reopen immediately after the fire due to unsafe conditions and extensive damage. The first phase in the rebuilding effort, after the fire investigation was complete, was the removal of tons of debris which again had to be done in a safe manner. A demolition services company used a remote-controlled robotic machine to evaluate the structural damage due to the fire and to determine how to safely begin the debris removal and renovation.
Since that time, work has been steady, even throughout the pandemic, to rebuild the shopping center. Staff in my office worked closely with the building owner and the tenants at the shopping center in getting the applicable permits and coordinating the required inspections. We requested one point of contact at Land Development Services (LDS) to coordinate the effort. Mekonnen Gebresillasie (Mac), Engineer IV, coordinated all the onsite permitting work, communicated regularly with all parties and helped troubleshoot issues during the building permit process to ensure all businesses could reopen quickly, yet safely. Harvey Clark, Engineer IV at LDS, assisted with all on-site and zoning related matters. A few businesses that received only minor damage from the fire were able to reopen quickly. GOLFTECH and WW Studio (formerly Weight Watchers) have also reopened. The remaining businesses have reopened as of June 1, such as Wine & Design, Roy Rogers and Spokes Etc. Three businesses chose not to reopen and those spaces are now ready for occupancy by a new tenant.
Mac and his team worked with insurance companies, the landlord, contractors, consultants, Dominion power and more throughout the entire process until the very last electrical permit was obtained, and the utilities were safely reconnected to the last businesses. Many thanks to everyone involved for the hard work and laser focus on the importance of the Belle View Shopping Center to our community.