- Associated Press - Saturday, June 18, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The owner of a downtown Omaha building severely damaged by fire last winter says it could be rebuilt and ready for retail occupants as soon as next spring.

Mark Mercer, owner of the building, told the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/24XOsMf ) that Nouvelle Eve, the women’s boutique that occupied a bay on the building’s southwest corner, might be able to move back in next spring or summer.

The space that once held the popular M’s Pub will take longer to reconstruct, he said, because that area was most heavily damaged. M’s owners haven’t said whether they’ll return to the space.

City of Omaha officials and safety regulators have said a Minnesota excavation company caused the fire when a natural gas line was struck Jan. 9 in front M’s Pub in the Old Market area. Gas leaked into the basement of the building and exploded. The fire damaged or destroyed the building’s walls, ceilings and several floors. The roof also collapsed.

Since March, construction crews have been clearing debris from inside the building and shoring up the walls. They’re installing a permanent roof on the south side of the structure to “wall in the building” before winter arrives, Mercer said.

“We’re kind of thinking that by September, the shell and the floor and the roof on both sides and the windows will be completed,” he said. “With everything closed up, we can begin to work on the interior, rebuilding the stores and apartments.”

Mercer and his wife, Vera, lost their home in the fire. It was on the top floor of the four-story building.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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